A shocking new RSPCA report shows convictions for animal neglect and cruelty rose by nearly 34 per cent in 2012.
The RSPCA Prosecutions Annual Report, unveiled during RSPCA week (April 29 to May 5), depict some of the worst ever cases faced by inspectors.
Sally Stanley, who works at Eastbourne’s PDSA shop, says people don’t know enough about animal cruelty, being made aware only of what’s in the media.
She said, “Personally, I don’t think people know as much as what they should about animal cruelty.
“They don’t know anything about facts and figures; most of what they’re told about is either in the papers or through media coverage.
“People come in and they talk about their animals, they love their animals so much and they always say how they can’t understand cruelty.
“But they don’t understand animal cruelty in the way they should; they don’t actually home in on the charities.
“Maybe if there was more of a general knowledge about it, it would be less of a shock.”
The amount of animals rescued or collected by the RSPCA increased by 9.7 per cent from 119,126 to 130,695, as well as the rescue of 64,000 farmed chickens from one flooded barn.
The figures also show a 122.7 per cent rise in the number of convictions relating to farm animals.
It’s these rescues that Sally says should be addressed more seriously.
“The focus is usually on pets as opposed to farm animals, when cruelty in slaughter houses is beyond belief.
“Personally, I don’t think enough people think of these animals when they think of cruelty.”
The largest rise in convictions of animal cruelty however, is in the treatment of small mammals such as hamsters and rabbits, with a 264.9 per cent rise.
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said, “The RSPCA is leading the fight against a growing animal cruelty crisis.
“ Our staff, volunteers and branches show tremendous dedication but they are struggling to keep up. For us, prosecution is always the last resort.
“Our inspectors investigated 150,833 suspected cruelty cases and issued 78,090 advice notices last year – these are extremely effective in improving the care of animals.
“However if there is evidence of a crime and serious animal abuse then we will take legal action to protect the animals and prevent further abuse. We also want to see courts taking these offences far more seriously.
“More animals need our help than ever before and I urge everyone to dig deep and give us as much support as you can – hold a fundraising event during RSPCA Week, volunteer for us, or if you are able, please give a new home to an abandoned or abused animal.
“Now more than ever we need all animal lovers to stand up against a rising tide of animal cruelty. We can’t do it without you.”
• To donate, text Week to 78866 to give £3 (text costs £3 plus one standard network rate message). Alternatively, you can donate by calling 0300 123 8181 or visiting www.rspca.org.uk/act