SUFFOLK has the lowest number of animal cruelty prosecutions in the south of the country, new figures from the RSPCA have revealed.

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The organisation’s cruelty statistics for 2012, which show the number of convictions for cruelty and neglect to animals, show there were 35 convictions in Suffolk, while 103 were recorded in Essex.

The number of people prosecuted for animal cruelty in Suffolk sits at 10 – the same figure reported in 2011.

In Essex, 24 people were convicted in 2011 compared to 32 last year.

Greater London topped the list with 333 convictions last year.

Nationally the figures for convictions for animal neglect and cruelty increased by nearly 34% in 2012.

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 the courts taking these offences far more seriously.”

The report, which ties in with RSPCA Week 2013, reveals a shocking catalogue of deliberate cruelty and neglect including a hamster thrown against a wall and stamped on by a man, a dog slashed with a meat cleaver and shot with an air rifle before abandoned on the side of the road, and more than 30 rabbits and guinea pigs living with their dead companions.

Animals rescued or collected by the RSPCA increased from 119,126 to 130,695 – a 9.5% rise.

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