Surge in an­i­mal cru­elty con­vic­tions in Wales

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

AN­I­MAL cru­elty and ne­glect pros­e­cu­tions have hit a four year high in Wales, shock­ing fig­ures have shown.

Dur­ing 2017, 148 con­vic­tions were se­cured by RSPCA Cymru in mag­is­trates’ courts across the coun­try, com­pared to 120 in 2016, 89 in 2015 and 116 in 2014.

They were against 67 peo­ple, a rise on the 61 con­victed in 2016. A fur­ther 52 were cau­tioned by the an­i­mal wel­fare char­ity in 2017.

The con­vic­tions in­cluded a man who blud­geoned a cat to death at the Royal Oak Ho­tel in Betws y Coed and a Dee­side man who left his Jack Rus­sell with a hor­ren­dous leg in­jury.

Other ap­palling cases in­cluded a pony bru­tally kicked and whipped by a man and woman in Llanelli and a Blae­nau Gwent man who dumped a help­less, un­well Ger­man shep­herd dog in a piece of car­pet on the side of a road.

The RSPCA in­ves­ti­gated 515 com­plaints of cru­elty in Flintshire last year, 475 in Gwynedd, 426 in Wrex­ham, 385 in Conwy, 370 in Den­bighshire and 294 on Anglesey.

In to­tal, the of­fi­cers in­ves­ti­gated 10,176 com­plaints dur­ing 2017.

The lev­els of an­i­mal cru­elty were branded “ex­tremely shock­ing and deeply sad­den­ing” by the RSPCA’s su­per­in­ten­dent in Wales Mar­tyn Hub­bard.

“The num­ber of con­vic­tions se­cured now stand at a fouryear high in Wales, with our in­spec­tors deal­ing with dis­turb­ing and unique cases of de­lib­er­ate abuse to­wards help­less an­i­mals,” Mr Hub­bard said.

“Last year we dealt with sev­eral dis­tress­ing cases that in­volved video ev­i­dence, that had been shared via so­cial me­dia. Con­vic­tions were suc­cess­fully se­cured in cases where, for ex­am­ple, a video showed three men launch­ing a rat out of a pipe like a can­non­ball, while an­other video showed a pony be­ing bru­tally whipped and kicked.

“This ev­i­dence un­der­stand­ably causes great dis­tress and pub­lic outcry. Thank­fully, due to valu­able in­for­ma­tion be­ing re­ported to us in con­fi­dence, we are able to in­ves­ti­gate and bring any an­i­mal wel­fare of­fend­ers to jus­tice.”

RSPCA chiefs said there was an on­go­ing cri­sis with horses and ponies, with many in­ci­dents in­volv­ing them last year.

As soon as one horse is re­homed, an­other is wait­ing to fill the sta­ble and, as a con­se­quence, the ma­jor­ity taken in by the RSPCA have to be cared for in pri­vate board­ing sta­bles at fur­ther cost to the char­ity.

Last year, there were 17 con­vic­tions in re­la­tion to equines in Wales and RSPCA in­spec­tors dealt with 1,331 calls in­volv­ing 4,616 equines in to­tal.

The RSPCA’s in­spec­torate na­tional equine co-or­di­na­tor, Chris­tine McNeil, said: “Up and down Eng­land and Wales, horses are be­ing found sick, dy­ing or some­times dead. It is fre­quently the case that they have been aban­doned and left to die.

“We are con­stantly re­ceiv­ing calls to our cru­elty line - on av­er­age 80 per day about horses alone across Eng­land and Wales - as well as mes­sages ev­ery day on so­cial me­dia from very con­cerned and up­set peo­ple ask­ing for our help.”

To re­port an an­i­mal in need of help, call the RSPCA’s cru­elty line on 0300 1234 999.

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