Shock new figures show jump in animal cruelty complaints made to RSPCA

The young horse called Whiskey was found dying, propped up against a car tyre, in Eye, Suffolk

The young horse called Whiskey was found dying, propped up against a car tyre, in Eye, Suffolk - Credit: Archant

Scores more cases of shocking animal cruelty in Suffolk are being reported to the RSPCA, new figures have revealed.

Statistics show the number of complaints made to the charity about neglected animals in Suffolk during 2014 rose from 1,982 to 2,031. Essex’s figures saw a bigger rise from 4,614 cases to 4,862 in the same period.

RSPCA bosses say that in some cases people are taking on pets with good intentions only to realise that bills are “astronomical”.

The figures also indicate that more members of the public are willing to come forward and contact the RSPCA when they are concerned.

Among the distressing cases was a young horse found propped up against a car tyre, in Eye.

“Whiskey”, an 18-month piebald colt had been left lying in an open field before being dragged behind a tractor to a shelter with a concrete floor and inadequate bedding.

The news comes at a time when the number of people being prosecuted fell nationally from 1,371 to 1,029 between 2013-14.

Most Read

RSPCA inspector Nicky Thorne, based in Suffolk, said: “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 too many horrendous cases of cruelty as the rise in complaints about cruelty to pets, and case studies, show.”

Last year also saw the start of the “neknomination” online craze which saw several people taking part in dares which included swallowing live fish, frogs and even a lizard.

In July a 20 year-old Lowestoft man was one of the first people to be prosecuted by the RSPCA for swallowing two goldfish and posting the footage online.

The pets most likely to fall victim to deliberate cruelty nationally last year were dogs (21,084), the majority of which (16,089) were reported as beaten.

Cats were second on 5,194, with rabbits and small animals third on 3,653.

But the number of animal owners who were offered and accepted welfare advice increased from 76,810 in 2013 to 82,746 last year nationally.

James Yeates, RSPCA chief veterinary officer, said: “Our aim is always to prevent cruelty so it’s really positive that a greater number of people followed our advice. Crucially this means that although we are still receiving complaints about cruelty we are often getting to incidents before suffering has occurred and helping owners to provide for their animals, whether that means getting veterinary care for them or just giving them the right diet.

Case study

A young horse called Whiskey was found dying, propped up against a car tyre, in Eye, Suffolk.

The 18 month-old piebald colt was just yards from his house when he was found by RSPCA inspector Nicky Thorne. She said: “He had been left lying in an open field before being dragged behind a tractor to a shelter with a concrete floor and inadequate bedding, where he was propped up by the tyre.

“He was emaciated and so weak he barely responded to human presence and could not get up. He was also covered in his own filth and was suffering from a severe infestation of worms.

“A vet said he had been suffering from chronic malnutrition for some time, and that his suffering was so bad that the kindest thing to do was put him to sleep to end his suffering.”

A 72 year-old man pleaded guilty in January last year to causing unnecessary suffering; failing to address the cause of Whiskey’s weight loss and poor body condition, and of failing to provide adequate treatment for his worm infection. He was disqualified from keeping animals for life, and jailed for 23 weeks.