MILLBRAE (KPIX 5) — The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a disturbing incident that left five chickens that were pets at a preschool in Millbrae mutilated and killed, according to authorities.

Officials at the Millbrae Nursery School say somebody broke into the property over the weekend, and stole five chickens from their coop before mutilating the birds and killing them.

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Millbrae preschool chicken coop (CBS)

“Some time between Saturday and Sunday morning, someone came in and tortured our chickens, and laid them out,” said Brigidan Bogni-Rodriguez, the director at the school.

At 10 a.m. Sunday morning, one of the teachers discovered the chicken coop and the rabbit hutch had been opened. A burglar had apparently ransacked the coop, which is next to the playground.

School officials said it appears the intruder killed all five chickens, slicing them open with a sharp object. Nothing in the school was stolen.

“It seems unthinkable,” said Trina Sodha, a parent of one the pre-school students. “The manner in which the chickens were killed. How their bodies were violated.  It just felt very callous.”

Another pre-school teacher later found the bodies of the chickens just over the back fence lined up in a row.

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Millbrae preschool chickens killed (CBS)

“From the pictures — I can’t look at the pictures — but they were gutted and then they were laid out,” said Bogni-Rodriguez. “It’s not like they were just thrown to another place. They were actually laid in sequence. I mean, who would do something like that?”

A spokesperson for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department said investigators and a veterinarian with the Peninsula Humane Society found bite marks on some of the chickens, which may mean wildlife got to them.

“At this point in time, it’s inconclusive whether their injuries were sustained by animals alone or if a human had any kind of role in them,” said San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Rosemerry Blankswade. “If at all possible we do find out that humans are responsible for this, they could potentially be facing animal cruelty charges.”

School officials said there was no surveillance video. The school’s two rabbits, Mopsie and Cottontail, were not harmed. So far, no arrests have been made in the case, which has the school community very nervous.

“What is next? Children or other adults? Where does it stop? They need intervention. They need someone to stop the cycle,” said Bogni-Rodriguez.

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The school has started a fundraiser to try and raise enough money to buy a new surveillance system.