Nearly 500 cases of cruelty against dogs reported in Northamptonshire since start of pandemic, RSPCA says
The charity is concerned that figures could continue to increase this summer
New figures show 491 reports were made to the charity in the county - of these 93 were classed as intentional harm.
Nationally, in 2021 44,427 reports of dog cruelty were made to the RSPCA involving 92,244 dogs. This equates to 10 reports an hour.
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The charity has seen a huge increase and is revealing the statistics now as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign.
With more people becoming dog owners during lockdown the charity is concerned the number of cruelty incidents involving canines will continue to increase - particularly in the summer when it traditionally sees a surge in calls to its cruelty line.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Every year, we see many dogs coming into our care bearing the physical and mental scars that were inflicted at the hands of the very people who were meant to keep them safe and love them unconditionally.
“We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers and dogs are ‘man’s best friend’ as the saying goes but in reality we receive many cruelty reports every day about dogs who have suffered the most unimaginable cruelty and a 16 percent increase of dogs being cruelly treated in a year is really concerning.
“Our officers have dealt with all sorts of horrific incidents including dogs repeatedly beaten, stabbed, burned, drowned, poisoned, some have been left to die from starvation.
“With the public’s help in reporting cruelty they have been able to save many dogs from ongoing abuse. Sadly though in some cases others have died at the hands of their tormentors and it is then our job to try and bring some justice for the victim.
“During the summer we see a rise in cruelty and this year as we have seen such a massive increase in dog ownership since lockdown we are bracing ourselves for even more reports.
“We believe there are a number of factors which mean summer is our busiest time. Perhaps there is boredom or pressures at home with children being off school which can make existing difficulties magnified.
“This year the cost of living crisis has added a further dimension and we believe we could see people really struggling to care for their pets which may lead them to lash out or could see more animals than ever being abandoned or given up.
“All these factors mean that we need the public's support more than ever to help Cancel Out Cruelty. As a charity, we are bracing to tackle a summer of suffering but we cannot do this without your help and we rely on public support to carry on our rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming work.”
To help prevent suffering the RSPCA has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign which aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help as well as raise awareness about how we can all work together to stamp out cruelty for good.