An animal welfare organisation has condemned as "mindless" and " reprehensible" an incident in which fireworks were thrown at a cow in Belfast at the weekend.
Police said they received a report that a group of youths had thrown fireworks at the terrified animal at Divis Close in the north-west of the city sometime between 7.30pm and 8pm on Sunday.
The youths are then believed to have run off in the direction of the Upper Ballygomartin Road.
It is not believed that the cow was seriously injured.
Chief executive of the USPCA Stephen Philpott said: "The mindless use of fireworks to terrorise animals is reprehensible. It causes both physical and emotional damage to the creatures targeted, be they family pets, farm livestock or native wildlife."
He also said that the misuse of fireworks, particularly by young people, must be tackled effectively. "The sale of fireworks by unlicensed dealers is illegal, yet their possession and use remains widespread," he said.
"There seems to be no 'off season' for their sale and we would appeal to parents to discourage their use and the appropriate authorities to take action against illegal dealers."
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information is asked to contact police in north Belfast on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.