A rising tide of animal cruelty

24 April 2012

RSPCAThe number of people convicted for cruelty and neglect to animals rose by nearly a quarter in England and Wales last year, according to figures announced by the RSPCA today.

Cases being highlighted ahead of the charity’s major fundraising push, RSPCA Week 2012, include a dog repeatedly stabbed with a potato peeler, a collapsed and emaciated dog dumped on Christmas Day morning and a dog which ate her dead mate to survive after being abandoned in a flat.

As well as a rise in those convicted under the Animal Welfare Act and other legislation, bans on keeping animals also increased in 2011, along with the number of prison sentences imposed for animal cruelty.

Across England and Wales, the RSPCA’s latest figures reveal:

  • 23.5 % rise in the number of people convicted for cruelty & neglect (1,341 in 2011)
  • 22 % rise in the convictions relating to cruelty to dogs (2,105 in 2011)
  • 21 % increase in disqualifications on keeping animals imposed by courts (1,100 in 2011)
  • 27 % rise in prison sentences imposed by courts (74 in 2011)
  • 9.3 % increase in the numbers of people reported to the RSPCA prosecutions department (3,036 in 2011)


  • 13 % rise in the number of phone calls received by the RSPCA at the charity’s control room in South Yorkshire (1,314,795 in 2011)

In the North of England:

  • 529 people were convicted for cruelty and neglect compared to 471 in 2010 – a rise of 12.3%
  • 728 convictions relating to cruelty to dogs compared to 800 in 2010 – a decrease of 9%
  • 458 disqualifications for keeping animals imposed by courts compared to 415 in 2010 – a 10.3% rise
  • 22 prison sentences imposed by courts compared to 19 in 2010 – a 15.7% rise
  • 1,069 people reported to the RSPCA prosecutions department compared to 1,127 in 2010 – a decrease of 5.2%

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said:

The RSPCA faces a crisis that is stretching us to breaking point.

We show zero tolerance to animal abusers. Anyone causing animals pain for profit or pleasure will be tracked down and prosecuted.

We need the courts and councils, police and people who care to join us in standing up and getting justice for Britain’s abused animals.

However, there were some amazing stories of survival including a lurcher-type dog which survived against all the odds after two men broke her back and stabbed her with a potato peeler before dumping her and leaving her to die. Thanks to the efforts of RSPCA and veterinary staff ‘Maggie May’ has a fantastic new life in a lovely new home.

‘Lily’, a Staffordshire bull terrier cross, survived being left with no food or water after eating the carcass of her mate who wasn’t so lucky and died a slow and painful death. Now called ‘Jess’, she was rescued and has a great new life.

Mike Hogg, North regional manager, said:

The RSPCA strives to keep animals with their owners wherever possible and offers advice on improving their welfare. Overwhelmingly this advice is followed, but where it isn’t, or where someone has already harmed an animal there has to be a way of ensuring that animals are not left to suffer and the RSPCA is the charity people turn to – and we are struggling to continue providing this service.

Of course we work closely with governmental and other charitable organisations, but we are the main organisation which prosecutes those who abuse animals and which can prevent cruelty to animals.

We can’t do this without the help and support of the public and we need it now more than ever. Please support RSPCA Week 2012.

RSPCA Week 2012 runs from 30 April to 6 May. To find out how to get involved please visit Please remember that to run the RSPCA’s 365 days a year service costs more than £124 million and it cost £15 per day to feed, house and provide medical attention for just one of the 7,762 dogs the RSPCA cared for in 2011.

RSPCA Live takes place on 28 and 29 April when a new Facebook app will be launched and celebrities like Alesha Dixon will be tweeting in support of the RSPCA.

To get involved in RSPCA Live, people should ‘Like’ the RSPCA’s Facebook Page and follow @RSPCA_Official on Twitter.


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