Parents 'laughed 'as children punched a stuffed owl

damaged stuffed owl Image copyright Friends of Guisborough Forest and Walkway
Image caption The stuffed owl will need repairing after children repeatedly punched it as their parents laughed

Parents accused of laughing as their children repeatedly punched a stuffed owl at a visitor centre have been criticised online.

Three children aged about eight attacked the owl at the Guisborough Forest and Walkway on 30 March.

Neil Thirkell from the centre, said instead of intervening, the adults they were with watched and laughed.

The £300 preserved owl replaced a previous bird which was stolen.

Mr Thirkell said: "It's just really sad that the kids think it is ok to do that and the parents think it is funny, that just encourages the children more."

'Disgusting behaviour'

"A lot of places have their animals behind glass but we wanted people to be able to touch and feel the animals.

"Sadly we may now have to reconsider that."

He said the parents "tutted" and walked away after a volunteer at the centre told the children to stop.

The owl, which was stuffed after being killed by a car near the centre two years ago, is part of a wildlife display which also includes a squirrel, hedgehog, badger and fox.

People have condemned the conduct of the children and their parents on social media.

One woman said: "How disgraceful, no wonder there is a lot of violence around now. Some parents have no control."

Another said: "Disgusting behaviour from both kids and parents."

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