Surge in animal cruelty convictions in Wales
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.