Quite apart from the disgusting nature of the attack itself, what really disturbed me was the quote by the prosecution from the seventeen-year-old. If I was his parents, I'd be really cautious about welcoming him back home.
Sadly, this is not uncommon, and it seems to be happening more and more often. I saw this story over at the Sheffield Star.
What these stories, and other stories like them, seem to me to have in common is not so much the savagery or the complete lack of respect for life, but that these animals were important to someone. I've seen stories of animals mutilated in petting zoos and children's school pets slaughtered. It's as if the main purpose is not to kill the animals so much as to cause as much emotional pain as possible to the people these animals are important to. And getting your rocks off by stomping a pigeon to death is a handy side-effect.
The seventeen-year-old, I suspect, may be another story altogether.
I hate to come over all right-wing, but these brave and shining chaps attacked and killed perfectly harmless animals. Instead of sentencing them to community service or fining them, perhaps they should be locked in a small room with half a dozen hungry foxes and a couple of really pissed-off badgers and then they can show us what they're really made of.