Shocking RSPCA statistics reveal more than 5,500 cruelty complaints investigated in Suffolk and Essex

Penny is now in a happy home, and is being cared for by County Durham couple Gordon and Carol Oxley.

Penny is now in a happy home, and is being cared for by County Durham couple Gordon and Carol Oxley. Picture: RSPCA - Credit: RSPCA

Thousands of animal cruelty complaints were investigated by the RSPCA last year – with 14 new welfare concerns looked into every single day across Suffolk and Essex.

One of the Paper Mill Lane horses belonging to Gussie Lee, called Lilly, pictured after she was take

One of the Paper Mill Lane horses belonging to Gussie Lee, called Lilly, pictured after she was taken into care. Picture: REDWINGS HORSE SANCTUARY - Credit: Archant

Shocking new data released by the animal welfare charity reveals a total of 5,727 complaints were logged in both counties in 2017 alone.

According to chiefs, the figures rank Essex – which had 3,947 reports investigated – as the third “cruellest” county in the south East.

Suffolk ranked as ninth, with inspectors in the county receiving 1,780 complaints.

Nationally, the charity investigated 141,760 complaints.


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RSPCA chief inspector Kathryn Parfitt, who covers Suffolk, said: “Our officers are still stretched to the limits as we try to help all the suffering, sick and dying animals in our county.

“Even though I have been with the RSPCA for a very long time now, I am still shocked and saddened by the awful incidents of cruelty which our officers are dealing with day in and day out.”

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The majority of calls received in Suffolk related to dogs – 963, followed by 513 reports about cats and 171 relating to horses.

Meanwhile in Essex, 2,112 cases involved dogs, 971 related to cats and 626 were about horses.

High-profile cases investigated in our region included a group of horses who were rescued from a location in Suffolk after they were found to be hungry and dehydrated.

They were also suffering from lice infestation, and had overgrown and cracked hooves.

Gussie Lee, 61, of Woodlands Way in Ipswich, was banned from keeping animals in August last year after admitting failing to meet the needs of 10 horses and causing unnecessary suffering to six of them.

The charges related to animals kept in Paper Mill Lane, north Ipswich.

Cats and kittens were also left inside a Suffolk home, which was littered with faeces and had a severe flea infestation.

RSPCA inspector Alex Coghlan found a dead tabby kitten in the hallway – it was approximately five weeks old.

Donna Albert, 39, of Quendon Place in Haverhill, pleaded guilty to two breaches of Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act.

Magistrates in Cambridge disqualified Albert from keeping all animals for five years.

She was also ordered to carry out 80 hours’ unpaid work, and pay £200 costs.

A dumped dog found curled up on a rubbish heap in Essex now has a safe home to call her own.

When the RSPCA found little Penny, she was weak, starving and dehydrated.

Now the 18-month-old Saluki is happy and healthy in her loving new home.

Penny was found by chance in East Tilbury last summer.

She was rescued by two men who spotted the skinny dog curled up in the rubbish after their vehicle broke down.

Inspector Rebecca Benson rushed to the scene and took Penny straight to the vets. She couldn’t stand, and was barely able to lift her head.

The charity launched an investigation and Penny was taken in by the Danaher Animal Home in Braintree.

Just under two months later, Penny had a special trip to London to appear on ITV’s This Morning with Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford – in a bid to find her a home.

Within a few weeks, Gordon Oxley and his wife Carol made the long drive from County Durham to Essex to meet her.

“We saw Penny online and read her description,” Gordon said.

“She looked lovely and we went to see her.”

It was love at first sight for the retired couple, who had been searching for the right dog for some time.

“We feel we have been really lucky because she has settled in really well,” Gordon added. “She’s everything we could want.”

Reacting to the statistics, Samantha Garvey, the RSPCA’s chief inspector for Essex, said: “We are also dealing with the very real problem of the horse crisis and this is reflected by the figures which reveal that Essex is actually the fifth on the national list for the highest number of complaints received about horses.

“The job of an RSPCA officer can be tough and emotionally very draining, but being able to rescue an animal from horrific neglect or brutal cruelty and know they are going to be given a second chance thanks to the tireless work of our staff and volunteers, is the reason we keep doing it.”

• Those concerned about an animal’s welfare are urged to report incidents to the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

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