After hearing a knock on her door at around 1 a.m., Janine Green opened her door to an unsettling sight. The Australian wildlife rescue volunteer found the police on her doorstep, cradling a young joey that had survived what appears to be a brutal mass killing of kangaroos on the South Coast of New South Wales.
Up to 20 kangaroos are dead after what police in the region believe to be an intentional hit-and-run attack that transpired over the span of an hour late Saturday night. In a statement released Monday, detectives in the Australian state say they're seeking witnesses of what they called "acts of animal cruelty."
"Until you see it you can't grasp the reality of it," Green, a volunteer with the rescue organization WIRES, told the local Channel 7 News on Sunday night.
She said the kangaroos were found strewn across the streets and front yards of the community of Tura Beach, many dead, others nearly so and in extreme pain. She believes the attacker used spotlights mounted on a truck, "so the roos would have stood there stunned and then they just ran them down."
"People were just horrified," she added, "and when we took the bodies away, seeing them on the back of the ute [truck] was heartbreaking."
As of Monday afternoon, Green was taking care of three of the surviving joeys, according to WIRES.
"WIRES is horrified to hear about the incident that took place in Tura Beach early on Sunday morning," a spokesperson for the organization, which calls itself Australia's largest wildlife rescue organization, said in a statement released Monday.
"Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation can be extremely challenging for all involved, especially when animals have been injured in an apparent act of cruelty."