Gore police are disgusted after a kitten was set on fire in the Southland town.
Officers are hunting for those responsible after the four-month-old kitten, called Haezel, was discovered by its owner when she returned home to Sword St from work on Tuesday afternoon.
The owner said she found the kitten on the garage floor meowing and groaning.
"It was a horrible sound," she said.
The animal's fur was singed and she had suffered burns to her ears and face, requiring treatment by a vet.
Acting Sergeant Tara Lindsay said the incident was troubling and she wanted the public to come forward with any information which might lead to the perpetrator being found.
"Animals have got no way of defending themselves and it's disgusting behaviour, so we treat these matters very seriously," she said.
"If anyone has seen anything don't hesitate to give us a call. If they want to do it anonymously we can make sure that can happen."
Police believed the offenders might have set fire to the kitten at its home address in Sword St, as its owner said it did not often go far from home, Ms Lindsay say.
If anyone heard anything or saw anyone running from the area on Tuesday they should contact police.
"We are not sure what caused the burns at this stage but we are completing inquiries into how that happened," Ms Lindsay said.
Anyone with information should call Gore police on (03) 203 9300 or report it anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.