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Neglect calls overwhelmingly top the list of dog cruelty reports in Wales

THERE were 3,065 reports made to the RSPCA about dog cruelty in Wales in 2021 

RSPCA Cymru has revealed that neglect is the most reported issue for dogs in Wales – with an expected spike of reports expected this summer. 

New figures released today as part of the animal welfare charity’s Cancel Out Cruelty campaign show that despite being man’s best friend there were 44,427 reports of dog cruelty made to the RSPCA across England and Wales involving 92,244 dogs last year.

That is 253 a day or more than 10 AN HOUR – and includes 10,228 dogs reported as beaten. This shows a significant 16% increase since 2020 – when cruelty reports involving 79,513 dogs were made to the charity. 

In Wales new figures released today by the animal welfare charity show that there were 3,065 reports of dog cruelty in 2021 across Wales. The top of the list was neglect with 1,890 calls and there were 500 calls relating to intentional harm. 

The most cruelty calls for dogs came in from Swansea (258 ), Rhondda Cynon Taff (256) and Cardiff (243). 

With more people becoming dog owners during lockdown the charity is concerned the number of cruelty incidents involving canines will increase this summer.

There are now an estimated 13 million dog owners in the UK according to the latest Pet Food Manufacturers report  – up from 9 million in 2019-2020 with lockdown causing an unprecedented surge in demand in pet ownership. 

Coupled with this is the fact the charity sees a spike in abuse cases for all animals during the summer months  as calls rise to 134,000 a month in July and August – three every minute and reports of cruelty soar to 7,600 each month – a heartbreaking 245 every day.

The RSPCA is also worried more dogs will fall victim to abuse and abandonments as the cost of living crisis takes hold adding financial pressures to pet owners.

To help prevent suffering the RSPCA has launched its Cancel Our Cruelty campaign which aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help as well as raise awareness about how we can all work together to stamp out cruelty for good.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Every year, we see many dogs coming into our care bearing the physical and mental scars that were inflicted at the hands of the very people who were meant to keep them safe and love them unconditionally.

“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..

“It is heartbreaking to see the number of cruelty calls made in Wales go into the thousands and it is very concerning to see the number of reports relating to neglect and intentional harm top the list.”

Across England and Wales RSPCA officers have dealt with incidents including dogs repeatedly beaten, stabbed, burned, drowned, poisoned and some have been left to die from starvation.

Sam added: “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.

“During the summer we see a rise in cruelty and this year as we have seen such a massive increase in dog ownership since lockdown we are bracing ourselves for even more reports.

“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 and could see more animals than ever being abandoned or given up.

“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.”

A poor British bulldog was found to have suffered after her owner failed to treat her skin condition which severely affected her head, ears and eyes. 

She was initially thought to be a stray and was immediately taken to a vet due to her poor body condition. 

At the vets a clinical examination found multiple abnormalities, most notably severe skin disease of the head, eyes and ears. She only weighed 16.2kg (35.7lb), and she looked thin. She also had soft tissue swelling in her eyes, which was causing her to be functionally blind.

The bulldog thankfully responded well to treatment and was taken to a foster home specialising in the breed. 

Twenty-one dogs were rescued in March 2021 following a police warrant. The dogs were found living in unhygienic and hazardous conditions, and many were underweight and suffering from severe skin diseases. All were seized by police and taken in by the RSPCA.

One of the dogs – a Saluki-cross came into RSPCA care looking like a walking skeleton. She was suffering from mange with sores and cuts all over her body.

West Hatch deputy manager Anita Clark said: “With careful monitoring and lots of TLC she went from strength-to-strength and her personality shone through a little more with every day that passed. It didn’t take long for her to win over a new heart and she soon left for her forever home.”

 Five tiny pups were abandoned in a box in Pentre near Wrexham back in September. 

The one-week old terrier/Jack Russell-type pups weighed just 120 grams each when they were found. Their eyes were still closed and flies were found with them and had started to lay eggs.

A kind-hearted finder took them to Rhyd Broughton Vets in New Broughton where they were cared for by two nurses before three of them were transferred to the RSPCA’s Bryn-y-Maen Animal Centre in Colwyn Bay a week later. Two of the pups were reared by staff at the vets, who also went on to adopt them. The other three puppies also found their forever homes.

This four-year-old Shar Pei spent 14 months in RSPCA care after being rescued by the RSPCA.

He had been thrown over a fence and left with multiple untreated rib fractures for several weeks after being assaulted by his owner.

A vet who examined the injured dog shortly after he was rescued said he had suffered from the rib fractures “for many weeks as a minimum and likely longer” which had occurred on multiple occasions.

The traumatic experience had left him especially fearful of men and he needed months of gentle handling to build up his confidence, as well as pain relief, supplements and hydrotherapy sessions for the injuries he sustained during the attacks.

But happily he found his forever home back in December, with his new owner visiting the RSPCA centre multiple times so that they could get to know each other beforehand. 

The RSPCA received 1,081,018 calls to its Cruelty Line in 2021 and these included;

  • 1,094 killings or nearly three animals killed a day
  • 632 mutilations or 12 animals brutally mutilated every week
  • 7,857 beatings which equates to one animal beaten every hour
  • 38,087 abandonments which equates to more than 100 animals callously abandoned every day

Our frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but we can’t do it alone – we need your help to Cancel Out Cruelty. To help support the RSPCA, visit: www.rspca.org.uk/stopcruelty 

If you cannot donate, there are other ways you can help Cancel Out Cruelty, from volunteering with the RSPCA, holding a bake sale or fundraiser, or taking part in the #50MilesForAnimals challenge.