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During recent months, children in the southern town of Rahat, near Be'er Sheva, have taken up a new and cruel pastime - burning dogs alive.

A resident of the predominantly Bedouin city, Salam al-Huzeil, recently filed a complained with the police over the new phenomenon, but said that they did not heed his complaint due to lack of proof.

Al-Huzeil decided to provide the police with proof, and videotaped some children burning a dog alive on his digital camera.

According to Al-Huzeil, the children habitually pour gasoline or another accelerant on the dog's fur and then set them on fire. He adds that the hobby does not end with burning the dogs' fur, but that in some cases the children tie the dogs up to a pole and cut off their legs, leaving them crippled.

"This is a terrible thing, a really ugly phenomenon," said al-Huzeil. "How can you set a dog on fire while it's still alive? These children's behavior is really disgusting. It cannot be that everyone turns a blind eye and no one does anything about it."

Al-Huzeil added that he complained with the Rahat police, but that so far nothing has been done to stop the phenomenon.