An animal charity is pleading for the public’s help as shocking figures today show the number of animal cruelty cases have risen by 15.7 per cent.
The RSPCA said the number of animals it rescued or collected increased from 119,126 in 2011 to 130,695 in 2012, a 9.7 per cent rise.
The report documents a shocking catalogue of deliberate cruelty and neglect – some of the worst cases ever seen by RSPCA inspectors.
In Lancashire, 46 people were convicted of animal cruelty, down from 60 in 2011, but the charity said there is no room for complacency as totals were rising in other areas leading to a 34 per cent increase in prosecutions.
Earlier this year in Blackpool, Kevin Keane, 60, of Caunce Street was banned from keeping animals after admitting causing unnecessary cruelty to two cats which lost part of their tails.
In another RSPCA prosecution, Sabrina Willey, 35, and Phillip Gee, 44, of Loftos Avenue, South Shore, were banned after trying to keep 11 horses while on state benefits.
And Sharon Gregory, 55, of Ribble Road, Blackpool, was also prosecuted by the RSPCA after dumping five young cats outside the Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary in a terrible state – two had an eye missing.
Mandy Leigh, from Easterleigh, said the two survivors had now been found homes.
She said: “I am really surprised the figures are down for Lancashire, that’s not the picture we get here in Blackpool.
“Most of the animals we get have been looked after but there is a minority of cases and we get quite a lot. We have had starving dogs and the situation with rabbits is terrible.
“People buy a cute little bunny at Easter an they grow up into a big rabbit. They get stuck in a hutch with no room to play and have terrible problems with their teeth.
“We regularly get rabbits coming in where their teeth have grown so long they have gone through their jaw and cannot open their mouths. They need a lot of vet attention and people don’t realise this.”
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: ‘The RSPCA is leading the fight against a growing animal cruelty crisis.
“Our staff, volunteers and branches show tremendous dedication but they are struggling to keep up.
“For us, prosecution is always the last resort. However if there is evidence of a crime and serious animal abuse then we will take legal action to protect the animals and prevent further abuse. We also want to see judges taking these offences far more seriously.
He urged everyone to dig deep during this week’s RSPCA Week drive.
Anyone wishing to donate or organise events can visit www.rspcaweek.org.uk
The shocking statistics
• 264.9 per cent rise in the number of animal welfare convictions relating to small mammals, eg rabbits, hamsters (2011=97, 2012=354)
• 122.7 per cent rise in the number of convictions relating to farm animals (2011=22, 2012=49)
• 117.4 per cent rise in the number of convictions relating to equines, ie horses, ponies and donkeys (2011=230, 2012=500)
• 33.8 per cent increase in the number of convictions (2011=3,114, 2012=4,168). NB individual defendants can receive more than one conviction.
• 15.7 per cent increase in the number of defendants convicted (2011=1,341, 2012=1,552)
• 9.7 per cent increase in the number of animals rescued or collected (2011=119,126, 2012=130,695, plus the rescue of 64,000 chickens rescued from a flooded barn)