The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information after a cage containing nine gerbils, one of which was dead, was found inside a communal bin at a block of flats in Motherwell.
The charity were alerted by caretakers at Dalziel Tower when they made the discovery on Saturday.
The surviving gerbils are now in the care of our Lanarkshire Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Hamilton.
Senior Inspector Bill Little said: “The cage had been put in the bin upside down and one of the gerbils was sadly already dead.
“This was an extremely cruel act and we are keen to identify the person responsible.
“We may be able to review CCTV footage to help with our enquiries but in the meantime we would ask anyone with information to contact us.
“The gerbils will remain in our care until we can find them new homes.”
Anyone with information is being urged to contact our Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.