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Suffolk/Essex: Report shows pets still being subjected to animal cruelty offences – but RSPCA reaffirms its determination to tackle the problem

06:00 18 June 2014

13-year-old cocker spaniel, Tyson, who was found in a garden shed in the Colchester area. Tyson had to be put down soon after arriving at the vets.

13-year-old cocker spaniel, Tyson, who was found in a garden shed in the Colchester area. Tyson had to be put down soon after arriving at the vets.


RSPCA officials last night reaffirmed their commitment to making sure animals are kept safe from harm as the charity published its annual prosecution report, which highlighted the abuse some pets in the region have suffered.

Case studies

Tyson the cocker spaniel was discovered in a garden shed near Colchester under a pile of carpets, sleeping in his own waste.

The 13-year-old blue roan dog was found in March last year and was unable to stand. His fur was dirty and heavily matted.

He was taken to a vet but due to the amount that he was suffering, he was put to sleep.

A 24-year-old woman and 34-year-old man pleaded guilty to causing him unnecessary suffering. In addition to a life ban on keeping animals, the man was given a suspended prison sentence, supervision order and ordered to pay costs of more than £690.

The woman was also given a suspended prison sentence, supervision order and £400 costs.

Inspector Sarah Elmy said: “The saddest part is that the vet said all that Tyson would have needed really was a bit of decent food, grooming and a clean place to live.”

A man from the Haverhill area was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years after his two dogs were found by an RSPCA inspector with untreated tumours – one the size of a watermelon.

Female labrador Heidi, 13, had one large mass and two smaller masses hanging from her chest and stomach, which prevented normal movement and she had to be put to sleep.

Female chocolate cocker spaniel Mimi, eight, had one large mass and several smaller masses on her mammary glands; overgrown nails and severe infections in her gums and teeth. She had surgery to remove the mass and all her teeth except for her canines. She has now found a new home.

The man, 70, pleaded guilty at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court in September to failing to provide the dogs with adequate and necessary veterinary care and attention.

The data has revealed a major rise in cases in Essex, where 39 defendants were convicted of a total of 144 animal cruelty offences, compared to a total of 71 convictions in 2012 for 32 defendants.

In Suffolk, 10 defendants were convicted with a total of 21 offences, compared to 25 convictions in 2012 for the same number of defendants.

RSPCA superintendent for the region, Paul Stilgoe, said: “It is really difficult to say what drives people to act in such utterly pointless cruel ways, and neglect their animals to such an extent.

“In some cases people just don’t know what an animal needs or financial circumstances can lead to difficulties, whilst others find organised cruelty, or deliberate violence towards an animal, acceptable.

“We will always try to work with people and re-educate where possible, but there will always be some people who think it is alright to beat, kick, kill, starve or neglect an animal and times when the only way to stop them is to prosecute.”

The offences highlighted by the RSPCA in the region includes an emaciated cocker spaniel being found under a heap of rubbish in a garden shed in Colchester and two dogs discovered with untreated tumours, one the size of a watermelon, in Haverhill.

Nationally, the organisation has received more calls to its cruelty line in 2013 than ever before and investigated almost 3,000 more complaints than in 2012.

The number of calls increased from 1.16million in 2012 to more than 1.3m in 2013. These included more than 150,000 complaints of cruelty which had to be investigated by inspectors.

Mr Stilgoe added: “The UK is known as a nation of animal lovers and yet, once again, we have seen some truly heartbreaking sights this year, and animals suffering in horrific ways.

“It is heartening that there has not been a rise in the number of defendants convicted this year, but we are still seeing far to many horrendous cases of cruelty as these case studies show.”

The report has been published as RSPCA Week, the charity’s annual fundraising and awareness drive, continues.

The week is running between June 14-22. If you would like to donate, call 0300 123 8181 or visit www.rspca.org.uk/act

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