ANIMAL lovers have launched a campaign to have a North-East man kicked off Facebook after he posted a disturbing photograph of a decapitated fox’s head on his page.

The grisly image of the animal’s head impaled on a spike was accompanied by an offensive message to anti-hunt campaigners that they had previously been warned that if they complained to Facebook about his photographs, foxes would die.

The Northern Echo:
The graphic image posted to the man's Facebook page

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A posting on the man’s page, who is from the Hartlepool area, stated: “You have cost a fox that was not near a farm or any livestock its life. Just for you. Any more bans and another fox dies.”

Another message accompanying the image stated: “I keep my promises 1 ban = 1 fox.”

Cleveland Police and the RSPCA have confirmed they are looking into the matter and a Facebook page set up calling on the man to be banned from the social media site has so far attracted more than 3,000 supporters.

The woman who set up the page, who would only give the name Miss Smith, said she was not affiliated to any anti-hunt or animal rights groups, but said she was moved to act over the “offensive and degrading” image.

She said: “Hunting is not something I agree with, but if someone wants to go out hunting I can’t say anything about that.

“But the moment they start putting a fox’s head on a spear, that is unacceptable.”

She added: “I think it is disgusting, parading it like that.”

Miss Smith said she has been delighted with the amount of support her campaign has gained, although she admitted she did not condone people sharing details of the man’s spouse or threatening him online.

“The image has since been removed off Facebook, but I want reassurance that he isn’t just going to move onto another animal and do it all again.”

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “Police have been made aware and following up enquiries.

“Part of our enquires would be to liaise with the RSPCA.

“If there has been cruelty involved, it would fall under something we would investigate.”

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "We have received reports of images of a decapitated fox being circulated online.

"The image is clearly very distressing and our inspectors are looking in to the matter.

"At present our investigations are ongoing and we are unable to comment further at this time."

The Northern Echo attempted to contact the man involved but at the time of going to press had not received a response.