A puppy was killed and a woman injured after a van was burnt out in an arson attack near Lisburn.
The woman was treated for injuries to her hands which she suffered while trying to extinguish the blaze in a white Transit van which was parked outside a house on Glenavy Main Street.
The flames were spotted at 3.20am and police have confirmed that they are treating the incident as arson.
A three-month-old puppy in the van died while the woman had to be taken to hospital for treatment to burns.
The deliberate act has been condemned local politicians and an animal welfare charity — and also by a woman who lost her own dog in an arson attack .
Natalie Agnew's three-year-old collie Cody died last September after being doused in lighter fluid and set alight.
The Maghaberry woman said: “We are horrified and disgusted to hear of another incident of a puppy being set alight. We only hope the owners of this puppy have no children to console after this cruel, inhumane act, as even after nine months we’re struggling to deal with our children's grief and fears .
“We offer our deepest sympathy
to the owners. We still await justice for the horrific attack on Cody and hope the police catch the culprit who inflicted this attack.”
Local SDLP councillor Pat Catney —who visited the dog's owner — said the family was very shaken up by the incident. He added that the woman was in shock but her injuries were not life-threatening.
“The whole community is disgusted by this crime. The perpetrator has a complete disregard for life. It was a dog on this occasion, but will it be a person next time?”
Mr Catney revealed the family who own the van are “settled” members of the Travelling community. He said there was a similar separate incident in the town a fortnight ago when a caravan was set alight.
A USPCA spokesman urged anyone with information on the “shocking attack” to contact police.