RSPCA: Surge in dog cruelty cases since start of pandemic amid fears it could get worse

·2-min read
Chance, a male bulldog-type pup, who was found with deformed legs (RSPCA)
Chance, a male bulldog-type pup, who was found with deformed legs (RSPCA)

The RSPCA has reported a significant surge in reports of dogs being abused since the start of the pandemic - with up to ten reports an hour.

The new figures released Tuesday revealed that 92,244 dogs were reported to the RSPCA last year as victims of cruelty.

This equates to more than ten calls an hour and includes 10,228 dogs reported as beaten.

The charity said this was a significant 16 per cent increase since 2020, raising concerns that an increase in dog owners during lockdown could yet prompt numbers to go higher.

Among the horrific catalogue of abuse are dogs being repeatedly beaten, stabbed, burned, drowned, poisoned, and some who have been left to die from starvation.

“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,” said RSPCA dog welfare expert, Dr Samantha Gaines.

Daisy, an abused puppy who was rescued after reports from the public (RSPCA)
Daisy, an abused puppy who was rescued after reports from the public (RSPCA)

“We’re 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.

“A 16 per cent increase of dogs being cruelly treated in a year is really concerning.”

The charity said summer is typically its busiest time for cruelty reports for all animals, with monthly reports rising from 90,000 to 134,000.

“We believe there are a number of factors that mean summer is our busiest time. Perhaps there’s boredom or pressures at home with children being off school which can make existing difficulties magnified,” said Dr Gaines.

“This year the cost of living crisis has added a further dimension and we could see people really struggling to care for their pets which may lead them to lash out.”

To help prevent suffering, the RSPCA has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, which aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline.

Among the harrowing cases highlighted by the charity include the story of Watson the tiny chocolate-coloured cockapoo puppy was found abandoned in a rucksack in Berkshire woodland, and Nyah, the underweight lurcher who was cruelly abandoned by hare coursers who left her for dead near Scunthorpe.

They were both taken into the RSCPA’s care.

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