Animal cruelty convictions increase

Greyhound pic from RSPCA

Greyhound pic from RSPCA

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The number of people convicted for animal cruelty offences in Northamptonshire rose by half in 2012, the RSPCA has revealed.

A total of 21 people were handed sentences by the courts in that period for offences ranging from drowning a family dog in the bath, allowing horses to become emaciated and starving a dog before dumping it at the side of the road.

The figure represented a rise from 14 convictions in 2011.

Jim Lucas, RSPCA chief inspector for Northamptonshire, said he was pleased with the results of a number of investigations in 2012 – some of which had led to custodial sentences.

He added: “One of the most shocking cases in 2012 was when a member of the public reported finding a greyhound which had been dumped by the side of the road in Corby.

“It was in a badly emaciated state and when it was taken to a vet the only option was to put it down.”

In that case, the animal’s owner, Luke Hamilton, was jailed for eight weeks and banned from keeping animals for 20 years.

Mr Lucas said he did not believe the rise in convictions was as a result of people becoming more cruel, or a rise in animal ownership.

He added: “I think it is more the case that people have become more pro-active about reporting instances of animal cruelty when they see them.

“It is also down to a lot of hard work by my officers.

“Of course, these days animals are easy to get hold of, you often see ads for free kittens for example, but I think people don’t always think through how much of a commitment a pet is. There is also a financial commitment.”