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THREE teenagers with a "morbid sense of entertainment" were charged with killing eight birds at a US zoo for abused animals, authorities said.

Matthew Ronneberg, Thomas Cavanaugh and Matthew Mercuro, all 18, were arrested for the bludgeoning deaths of three emus, three ducks and two rheas at the Popcorn Park Zoo.

Authorities said today the trio, who were out joyriding, jumped a fence at the zoo and attacked the animals with a rake and a length of plastic plumbing pipe.

The birds were found dead in their pens on Monday morning. One duck's eye was gouged out while the emus had their windpipes crushed, jugular veins slashed and were beaten on their heads.

A series of tips led police to the three, Lacey Township police said.

The slayings capped a night that authorities said began with an attack on a duck or goose at a county park. It allegedly continued with an arson-and-graffiti spree at a paintball facility and included vandalism at a church, where $US5000 ($A7627) worth of stained glass windows were shattered. The animal at the park survived.

The teenagers were each charged with eight counts of cruelty to animals and one count each of burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief for the zoo attack. In neighbouring Manchester Township, site of the paintball facility and church, they face burglary and other charges.

Police Captain William Nally said there was no motive beyond the suspects' "morbid sense of entertainment".

"They were out riding around, looking for things to do," Nally said.

Each count of cruelty and criminal mischief is punishable by up to 18 months in prison, and the three could face five years for burglary. They were being held on $US50,000 ($76,277) bail, and did not yet have attorneys.
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