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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 12:25 GMT
Ad pulled after terrapin attack
Turtle by the firework
The terrapin had been taped to the firework with white masking tape
An online advert showing a tortoise being shot into space has been pulled after it was linked to an incident when a terrapin was tied to a lit firework.

The creature was found injured by a dog in a garden in Wrexham on Bonfire Night. It had suffered a cracked shell, bumped head and a bleeding mouth.

The RSPCA linked the incident with the Virgin Media broadband advert which uses a cartoon tortoise.

The company apologised for any offence and said the advert had been stopped.

The RSPCA had accused Virgin Media of depicting animal cruelty with its cartoon image of a lit firework being used to fire a tortoise into space, ripping off its shell in the process.

A spokesman for the company said the advert was symbolic of a tortoise who wanted to get faster broadband and it did not condone cruelty to animals.

"We have stopped running our online advert, depicting a tortoise with a rocket, and sincerely apologise to anyone this may have offended," added the spokesman.

"Lost for words"

RSPCA spokesman David Bowles said the terrapin incident was not thought to be a direct copycat of the Virgin Media advert but he believed the two were connected.

He appealed for future advertising to be "thought through more carefully".

The terrapin, believed to be a female, is being cared for at the North Wales Raptor and Reptile centre.

Director Gary Dickinson said the creature had a "long way to go" but he was hopeful for a full recovery.

He said the terrapin was being called by a number of names, but the favourite at the moment was "Catherine".

Mr Dickinson said: "We're taking each hour as it comes, we've managed to get a little bit of food inside her."

'Callous and sick'

He added that with "plenty of TLC" he hoped the terrapin would make a good recovery.

The RSPCA appealed on Friday for help in catching the culprits behind what they described as a "callous and sick" act of cruelty.

It is thought the firework with the terrapin attached to it was set off on 5 November, but it was not discovered until the following morning, meaning it had lain in a garden of a house on Rutland Road overnight.

RSPCA officer Claire Davies, who collected the terrapin, said she was "completely lost for words" when she discovered what had happened.

"After this terrifying ordeal and lying in a cold garden all night it is a miracle that she survived," she said.

Anger at terrapin firework launch
09 Nov 07 |  North East Wales

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