The number of people convicted of cruelty and neglect to animals rose by nearly a quarter last year, according to figures announced by the RSPCA today.
Cases revealed ahead of the charity’s major fundraising push, RSPCA Week 2012, include a dog repeatedly stabbed with a potato peeler, a dog the only survivor of a house of horror where five animals died of starvation; a blind kitten found dumped in a carrier bag and two cases involving tens of dogs kept in squalid conditions.
As well as a rise in those convicted under the Animal Welfare Act and other legislation, bans on keeping animals also increased in 2011, along with the number of prison sentences imposed for animal cruelty.
The RSPCA’s latest figures reveal:
23.5% rise in the number of people convicted for cruelty & neglect (1,341 in 2011)
22% rise in the convictions relating to cruelty to dogs (2,105 in 2011)
21% increase in disqualifications imposed by courts (1,100 in 2011)
27% rise in prison sentences imposed by courts (74 in 2011)
9.3% increase in the numbers of people reported to the RSPCA prosecutions department (3,036 in 2011)
13% rise in the number of phone calls received by the RSPCA (1,314,795 in 2011)
Pets were not the only victims. Cases involving farm animals last year rose as well as a convictions relating to equines (230 in 2011).
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “The RSPCA faces a crisis that is stretching us to breaking point.
We show zero tolerance to animal abusers. Anyone causing animals pain for profit or pleasure will be tracked down and prosecuted.
We need the courts and councils, police and people who care to join us in standing up and getting justice for Britain’s abused animals.”
However, there were some amazing stories of survival including a lurcher-type dog which survived against all the odds after two men broke her back and stabbed her with a potato peeler before dumping her and leaving her to die. Thanks to the efforts of RSPCA and veterinary staff Maggie May has a fantastic new life in a lovely new home.
Beethoven, the dog from the ‘house of horror’, had been left to die along with another dog, two cats and two small animals. The others all suffered a painful and slow death from starvation, but Beethoven was rescued and now has a great new life.
Sally Case, head of society prosecutions, said: “The RSPCA strives to keep animals with their owners wherever possible and offers advice on improving their welfare. Overwhelmingly this advice is followed, but where it isn’t, or where someone has already harmed an animal there has to be a way of ensuring that animals are not left to suffer and the RSPCA is the charity people turn to – and we are struggling to continue providing this service.
“Of course we work closely with governmental and other charitable organisations, but we are the main organisation which prosecutes those who abuse animals and which can prevent cruelty to animals.
“We can’t do this without the help and support of the public and we need it now more than ever. Please support RSPCA Week 2012.”
RSPCA Week 2012 runs from 30 April to 6 May. To find out how to get involved please visit http://www.rspcaweek.org. Please remember that to run the RSPCA’s 365 days a year service costs more than £124 million and it cost £15 per day to feed, house and provide medical attention for just one of the 7,762 dogs the RSPCA cared for in 2011.
During RSPCA Live - a weekend (28-29 April) of online interactive activity on social media channels - supporters will be able to tune in to Facebook and Twitter to find out more about the breadth of the charity's work and get close to core RSPCA people, as well as celebrity ambassadors, including Alesha Dixon and Victoria Stillwell.
To get involved in RSPCA Live, people should Like the RSPCA’s Facebook Page and follow @RSPCA_Official on Twitter.
Help us to continue our work and rescue animals like these by making a donation.
Ring 0300 123 8000 (24 hours) or visit www.rspca.org.uk/donate
Notes to editors
Case studies, figures and county figures are available at http://www.rspca.org.uk/crueltyfigures
For photographs, please email the RSPCA national press office on firstname.lastname@example.org
The cruelty statistics footage can be downloaded on:
(Includes Case 1 – Lilly the dog; Case 2 – Cats in house; Case 3 – Marmoset; Case 4 – Dog kicking)
(Includes Case 5 – Various farm animals & others; Case 6 – fox baiting; Case 7 – cats and dog; Case 8 – multiple dog case (West Midlands); Case 9 – puppies; Case 10 – multiple dog case (Buckinghamshire) )
To arrange an interview, please email email@example.com or call 0300 123 0244/0288. Please be aware that we may be very busy but we will always respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.
Animals from various cases will be available with their new owners for photos and filming around the country. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 123 0244/0288
RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288 Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: email@example.com Website: www.rspca.org.uk
Save the Date! RSPCA Week 30 April - 6 May 2012 Visit www.rspcaweek.org.uk to download your guide to fundraising!