Essex an ‘animal cruelty hotspot’, new figures show

Lifestyle / Wed 7th Jul 2021 at 05:11pm

THE RSPCA today launches a new campaign to ‘Cancel Out Cruelty’ – as figures reveal Essex is one of the ten ‘cruelty hotspots’ in England and Wales.

Over the last five years, the charity has received 2,623 reports of intentional cruelty to animals in Essex – making it the 9th highest area for animal cruelty reports.

The charity has released the figures today – which you can view on an interactive Cruelty Map – as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, to raise funds to keep its rescue teams out on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help and to raise awareness about how we can all help stamp out cruelty for good.

The RSPCA gets around 84,000 calls to its cruelty line every month and around 1,500 of those are about intentional cruelty. But the charity sees a rise in the Summer by around 400 calls, on average, per month, which equates to 47 calls every day or two every hour.

July is a particularly busy month for investigating cruelty – last year the RSPCA dealt with a spike in intentional cruelty as 1,532 incidents were called through to their emergency helpline and the charity is expecting a similar spike this July.

Beatings, knife crime, drowning and intentional killing are just some of the horrific incidents RSPCA animal rescuers deal with every day.

Dermot Murphy, head of RSPCA animal rescue teams, said: “We always sadly see a rise in cruelty during the Summer months. As well as more people being out and about in the longer sunny days, seeing and reporting abuse, we feel there are a number of factors which contribute to this rise.

“Unfortunately, the hot summer days can lead to more people drinking alcohol in the sun which can be a factor in causing violence. There could also be boredom during the long holidays and more pressures at home – when the whole family is on holiday from school and work, existing difficulties in the home can be magnified. During these hot months, calls to our cruelty line rise, putting more pressure on our already stretched frontline rescue teams.

“Police forces reported a rise in domestic violence last year during lockdown and we are concerned that similar pressures which led to this rise may also have impacted on more cruelty to animals behind closed doors during the pandemic.

“The past year has seen a reportedly huge rise in pet ownership* and we know most people would not dream of harming an animal. However, we are concerned that, as we come out of lockdown and people return to their jobs outside the home or suffer financial pressures, we will see more animals suffer if their owners find themselves unable to cope.

“We are urging people in Essex to support our campaign to Cancel Out Cruelty so we can all work together to end cruelty towards animals. 

“We urge anyone who wants to report animal cruelty to us to call our hotline on 0300 1234 999.”

Among the incidents of cruelty the RSPCA has dealt with in Essex is that of a Yorkshire terrier who was killed by his owner in Colchester after being hit with a broom when the dog made a mess in the kitchen.

An x-ray showed the dog suffered from a fractured skull and a brain injury.

The RSPCA prosecuted a man over the offence and he was banned from owning dogs for three years, ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and to pay £390 costs.

National facts and stats

  • In 2020 we received 354,784 calls to our cruelty hotline during the summer months (June- August) about all kinds of cruelty and neglect
  • In 2020 we received 4,339 reports about intentional cruelty during the summer months (June-August) – around 47 a day or 2 an hour
  • July is our busiest month for investigating complaints – last year we received 34,550 calls throughout the month. The average number of calls we got a month last year was 25,072
  • In 2020 we received 8,214 calls about someone beating an animal – that’s 22 a day – almost one an hour
  • We also received 1,496 calls about improper killing in 2020 – an increase from 964 in 2019
  • This is an increase from 2019 when we received 5,757 calls about someone beating an animal
  • The RSPCA has had almost 100,000 reports of intentional harm to animals over the last five years
  • Every day the RSPCA has six reports of people killing or attempting to kill animals

The RSPCA’s interactive Cruelty Hotspot map shows how many reports of intentional cruelty to animals the charity has received for each county in the last five years.

The RSPCA’s rescue teams need support to stay out on the frontline as the only charity rescuing animals and investigating cruelty. 

  • £6 could help pay to feed a dog for a day in our care
  • £10 could help pay towards bandages for a cat or dog
  • £15 could help pay for a cat or dog’s clinical exam
  • £20 could help pay towards a bird catching kit
  • £30 could help pay for a life jacket for an inspector
  • £100 could help pay towards water rescue equipment
  • £500 could kit out a 4×4 inspector van

To donate to the Cancel Out Cruelty campaign and help us continue to rescue animals in need, visit www.rspca.org.uk/stopcruelty.

You can also help Cancel Out Cruelty by volunteering for us, becoming a campaigner to help us change the law for animals for the better, by becoming a fundraiser for the RSPCA, by learning more about animals through our Compassionate Families programme, buying a Cancel Out Cruelty T-shirt and showing it off on social media, or by pledging to help animals in other ways, such as learning more about your pets’ needs, or learning how to help wildlife.

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