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Suffolk expected to see rise in dog cruelty reports according to RSPCA figures



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Reports of dog cruelty cases are expected to rise in Suffolk according to latest figures from the RSPCA.

The animal welfare charity has revealed there were 459 reports made to them about dog cruelty in Suffolk last year and of these 72 were classed as intentional harm, with more expected to be reported this summer.

'Boredom and homelife pressures' are among the causes for the expected rise.

Boredom and homelife pressures are among the expected causes of the increase. Picture: RSPCA
Boredom and homelife pressures are among the expected causes of the increase. Picture: RSPCA

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “We believe there are a number of factors which mean summer is our busiest time. Perhaps there is boredom or pressures at home with children being off school which can make existing difficulties magnified.

"This year the cost of living crisis has added a further dimension and we believe we could see people really struggling to care for their pets which may lead them to lash out or could see more animals than ever being abandoned or given up.

“We are bracing ourselves for even more reports."

The figures have been released as part of the RSPCA's Cancel Out Cruelty campaign to show that despite being man’s best friend there were 44,427 national reports of dog cruelty made to the RSPCA involving 92,244 dogs last year.

The data equates to 253 reports a day or more than 10 an hour - and includes 10,228 dogs reported as beaten. This is a 16% increase since 2020 - when cruelty reports involving 79,513 dogs were made to the charity.

One of the cases reported in Suffolk was that of six-year-old poodle cross dogs Bella and Lila who arrived into the care of the RSPCA Martlesham Animal Centre, near Woodbridge, in February 2021.

The dogs had completely shut down, terrified of everything and in a real state having never experienced the outside world.

Bella and Lila were taken to RSPCA Martlesham Animal Centre, near Woodbridge. Picture: RSPCA
Bella and Lila were taken to RSPCA Martlesham Animal Centre, near Woodbridge. Picture: RSPCA

They had been signed over by their owners having spent the first six years of their lives shut in a crate.

Their coats were matted and dirty, tangled with urine and faeces. They had fleas, their nails were overgrown, their ears were thick with dirt and their teeth were covered in plaque. Both were displaying extremely fearful behaviours and staff were unable to approach them or handle them.

Staff spent weeks gaining the girls’ trust, assessing them and developing rehabilitation plans to help prepare them for new homes.

Lila, now renamed Jemima, was adopted by a family from Suffolk, to live with their eight-year-old retired racing greyhound. Bella, who was adopted by a family from Scotland, has also settled into her new home.

Her new owner said: “Bella is doing really well; we feel very fortunate to have her.”

To help prevent the cruelty of animals, the animal welfare charity has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign to raise funds and awareness of how it can work with the public to end animal abuse.

Dr Gaines added: "We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers and dogs are ‘man’s best friend’ as the saying goes but in reality we receive many cruelty reports every day about dogs who have suffered the most unimaginable cruelty and a 16% increase of dogs being cruelly treated in a year is really concerning.

The figures have been released as part of the Cancel Out Cruelty campaign. Picture: RSPCA
The figures have been released as part of the Cancel Out Cruelty campaign. Picture: RSPCA

"Our officers have dealt with all sorts of horrific incidents including dogs repeatedly beaten, stabbed, burned, drowned, poisoned, some have been left to die from starvation.

"With the public’s help in reporting cruelty they have been able to save many dogs from ongoing abuse. Sadly though in some cases others have died at the hands of their tormentors and it is then our job to try and bring some justice for the victim.

"All these factors mean that we need the public's support more than ever to help Cancel Out Cruelty. As a charity, we are bracing to tackle a summer of suffering but we cannot do this without your help and we rely on public support to carry on our rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming work.”

More information about the campaign or details about how you can raise money can be found on the RSPCA website.