Cru­elty fig­ures are just ‘tip of ice­berg’, says an­i­mal char­ity

Sud­den up­surge in num­ber of of­fences in last three years de­scribed as ‘dis­heart­en­ing’

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - GRAEME STRA­CHAN gstra­chan@the­

A sud­den rise in vi­o­lence against dogs across Tay­side has been de­scribed as just the tip of the ice­berg.

Scot­tish SPCA chief su­per­in­ten­dent Mike Flynn said it was “in­cred­i­bly up­set­ting” to hear about the num­ber of of­fences against dogs recorded in the re­gion.

And he re­vealed in Dundee and An­gus last year, his or­gan­i­sa­tion at­tended close to 4,000 in­ci­dents.

The statis­tics re­vealed there were 10 cases of cru­elty to dogs in An­gus in the past two years, seven in Dundee and eight in Perth in Kin­ross.

All were at zero in the pre­vi­ous two years.

Be­tween 2012-13 and the last fi­nan­cial year, the for­mer Tay­side and Grampian polic­ing ar­eas recorded 108 cases of cru­elty, de­tect­ing just over half.

There were two live­stock of­fences in Tay­side in the last two years, although there were no cases of cru­elty to wild an­i­mals.

How­ever, not all of­fences per­tain­ing to wild an­i­mals in­volve di­rect harm – in Tay­side, two non-na­tive beavers were re­leased against the law.

Mr Flynn said: “It’s dis­heart­en­ing to hear about any kind of an­i­mal cru­elty and to hear that these in­stances are in­creas­ing is in­cred­i­bly up­set­ting.

“These statis­tics sadly do not show the true ex­tent of the cru­elty that hap­pens in Scot­land.

“Here at the Scot­tish SPCA we re­ceive over 250,000 calls a year to our an­i­mal helpline.

“Last year we at­tended 3,867 in­ci­dents in Dundee and An­gus alone.

“The Scot­tish SPCA is a re­port­ing agency to the crown and we will con­tinue to work along­side Po­lice Scot­land of­fer­ing help and sup­port with any an­i­mal re­lated in­ci­dent.”

Po­lice Scot­land said it has the power to ar­rest an in­di­vid­ual where there is suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to sup­port a charge against them.

This would be for ei­ther for a com­mon law crime or for a statu­tory of­fence.

How­ever, not all of­fences re­sult in ar­rests, with the de­ci­sion to con­vict taken by the Crown Of­fice and Procu­ra­tor Fis­cal Ser­vice.

North East Con­ser­va­tive re­gion MSP Liam Kerr said he was “shocked and dis­mayed” at the fig­ures, which were re­leased un­der free­dom of in­for­ma­tion.

Mr Kerr said: “The sud­den in­crease in re­ports of this sick­en­ing crime – the mis­treat­ment of help­less an­i­mals – in the area is ap­palling. There’s no ex­cuse for harm­ing an­i­mals.

“The po­lice in An­gus and Dundee have done a good job de­tect­ing these new crimes, which they would not have had to tackle a cou­ple of years ago.”

Chief su­per­in­ten­dent Mike Flynn of the Scot­tish SPCA.

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