More than 2,300 complaints of animal cruelty in Cambridgeshire were investigated by the RSPCA last year – with the charity warning officers are “stretched to the limit”.
The RSPCA investigated a total of 2,387 concerns about animal cruelty in the county during 2017, with six new complaints being looked into by local inspectors every day.
The animal charity states that the statistics make Cambridgeshire the fifth cruellest county in the South East – behind London, Kent, Essex and Norfolk.
The statistics come after the News revealed the number of people being found guilty of animal cruelty in Cambridgeshire dropped to its lowest number in six years.
Cases investigated by the RSPCA in Cambridgeshire over the last year have included:
The pregnant dog was rushed to a vet for an emergency caesarean after she was found in St Neots Road, Abbotsley.
The RSPCA received an anonymous call to a field off Station Road in Longstanton to two abandoned ponies – one of which had collapsed.
Eight-month-old piebald Pancake was close to death and needed intensive, round-the-clock care.
Six-month-old black-coloured filly Poppet, while also anaemic and in extremely poor condition due to parasites.
A heartwarming video (below) shows the ponies being nursed back to health by dedicated RSPCA officers and staff at Cambridge Equine Hospital.
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Tommy Wall, 57, of Pine Lane, Smithy Fen, Cottenham appeared at Huntingdon Magistrates Court and was found guilty by a district judge of causing unnecessary suffering to his dog, Patch.
The court heard he had failed to ensure the dog received appropriate veterinary care for a fractured leg between the period of May 2 and 10, 2017.
'Our officers are still stretched to the limits'
The most calls received in Cambridgeshire were related to dogs (1,296), followed by cats (533) and then horses (412).
Jayne Bashford, the RSPCAs chief inspector who covers Cambridgeshire said: "Our officers are still stretched to the limits as we try to help all the suffering, sick and dying animals in our county.
“Even though I have been with the RSPCA for a very long time now, I am still shocked and saddened by the awful incidents of cruelty which our officers are dealing with day in and day out.
“The job of an RSPCA officer can be tough and emotionally very draining, but being able to rescue an animal from horrific neglect or brutal cruelty, and know they are going to be given a second chance thanks to the tireless work of our staff and volunteers, is the reason we keep doing it.
“The work of the RSPCA family helps to transform the lives of thousands of animals in Cambridgeshire each year and we are so grateful to the public who report cruelty to us and continue to support our vital work.”
The statistics have been released as part of the charitys annual cruelty statistics, which show that nationally, 141,760 complaints about animal welfare were investigated in 2017.
Cambridgeshire ranked 22nd in the 47 counties nationally which has the most animal cruelty complaints.
The highest number of complaints investigated were in Greater London (11,259), followed by Greater Manchester (7,472) and then West Yorkshire (6,969).
Across England and Wales, 388 new cases of animal cruelty were investigated every day.
If you are concerned about an animals welfare, you can report this to the RSPCAs cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, visit www.rspca.org.uk/suffering
'Horses frequently abandoned and left to die'
This year, the RSPCA is focusing on the plight of horses as animal rescuers and welfare charities struggle to cope with an ongoing equine crisis.
The charitys cruelty statistics reveal that nationally, nearly 1,000 horses were rescued by the charity from cruelty, suffering and neglect last year (2017), and a staggering 928 horses are still in the charity's care.
In Cambridgeshire in 2017, the RSPCA received 412 complaints about 253 horses and officers collected 22 horses in the county last year, compared to 16 in 2016.
The national horse crisis, which charities first highlighted in 2012, has since seen RSPCA officers routinely called out to abandoned horses every day up and down the country, with many of them extremely sick, dead or dying.
The RSPCA's equine crisis
The RSPCAs latest figures show the horrifying impact of the crisis:
- The charitys 24-hour emergency line received more than 80 calls a day about horses in 2017
- The charity took in the highest number of horses into its care for four years (980)
- The charity currently has 928 horses in its care
- Last year the RSPCA secured 25 per cent more convictions for equine offences than two years ago
- It costs the RSPCA more than £3m per year to care for the horses, excluding veterinary costs
- Many of the incidents dealt with by RSPCA nationally throughout 2017 concerned horses, and other equines
The animal welfare charity is highlighting the significant consequences of the ongoing horse crisis.
Despite the efforts of the RSPCA and other equine welfare organisations, the crisis shows no sign of easing, with the charity struggling to find stables and funding to keep the large number of horses it has had to take in.
As soon as one horse is rehomed, another is waiting to immediately fill the stable and, as a consequence, the majority of horses taken in by the RSPCA have to be cared for in private boarding stables at further cost to the charity.
The RSPCAs 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. This is upsettingly very common and its a massive issue – a very sad one at that.
“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.”