Cruelty towards dogs increased by 7 per cent in Oxfordshire last year, new figures show

Cruelty towards dogs increased by 7 per cent in Oxfordshire last year, new figures show.
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The dog pictured was abandoned in a broken cage alongside a heartbreaking note. It was rescued by the RSPCA.

The dog, a young male spaniel with a leg deformity, had been left by the side of a road in a broken cage in Oxfordshire on May 4.

Alongside the animal was a note which read ‘Please feed and look after me. My owner is struggling to look after me’.

This dog was abandoned by a road in Oxfordshire along with a note to say the owner was 'struggling'This dog was abandoned by a road in Oxfordshire along with a note to say the owner was 'struggling'
This dog was abandoned by a road in Oxfordshire along with a note to say the owner was 'struggling'

In 2022, there were 367 reports made to the RSPCA in the area about cruelty to dogs, compared with 344 in 2021.

The heartbreaking figures include reports made about intentional harm, neglect and abandonments.

“The type of incidents which come under intentional harm are attempted killing, poisoning, beating, improper killing, mutilation and suspicious circumstances. Shockingly, there were 80 reports of intentional harm to dogs in Oxfordshire,” said RSPCA spokeswoman Suzanne Norbury. “In summer months cases of cruelty rise and we are braced for our busiest time of the year.”

The charity has released the heartbreaking figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, in a bid to raise funds to help its frontline rescue teams continue to save animals from cruelty and abuse.

A note left by the side of a dog, abandoned by the side of an Oxfordshire road, in a cageA note left by the side of a dog, abandoned by the side of an Oxfordshire road, in a cage
A note left by the side of a dog, abandoned by the side of an Oxfordshire road, in a cage

Stephen Reeves, RSPCA acting chief inspector for Oxfordshire, said: “For hundreds of years dogs have been known as man’s best friend - and if you share your home with one, you will know why, as they are such loyal and loving companions.

“But these awful statistics tell a different story. Dogs are the most abused animal in this country and we investigate more complaints about them than any other type of animal.

“Everyone who cares about animals will be sickened to know how many reports we receive about dogs being kicked, beaten, burned or worse. We need the public’s help to Cancel Out Cruelty. Their donations, no matter how small, help keep our frontline officers out on the road rescuing animals and investigating these terrible reports.”

Mr Reeves said latest figures show the charity saw a 22 per cent increase in reports of beatings in 2022 (9,658 in 2022, compared to 7,857 in 2021).

These pups were one case dealt with by the RSPCA in the last yearThese pups were one case dealt with by the RSPCA in the last year
These pups were one case dealt with by the RSPCA in the last year

The figures released by the RSPCA also shows the number of beatings reported in 2022 peaked in August, when 1,081 reports were received - a staggering 35 a day. 77 per ent of all cruelty complaints reported to the charity last year were beatings.

The number of animals killed in ‘suspicious circumstances’ increased in 2022 by 15 per cent to 891.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, said: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing such sad figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.

“While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase, the cost of living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in has created an animal welfare crisis.

Last year saw a 22 per cent rise in the number of beatings. August is a critical monthLast year saw a 22 per cent rise in the number of beatings. August is a critical month
Last year saw a 22 per cent rise in the number of beatings. August is a critical month

“Each year, these reports reach its terrible annual peak in the summer months – when an animal is beaten on average every hour of every day. The cost-of-living crisis also means the cost of rescuing animals is at an all-time high and our vital services are stretched to the limit.”

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