UK's reputation as nation of animal lovers is damaged after rise in cruelty offences

The British are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers. But this reputation has been shattered today after the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the world's oldest animal welfare chariry, said the number of people jailed for animal cruelty has increased by 42%.

There are some photos which some people may find disturbing...

Jail for animal cruelty up 42%

Cared for ... Tony the lurcher with owner Jenny Bentley

30th July 2008
The Sun

BRITAIN'S reputation as a nation of animal lovers was shattered this morning by the release of a damning report revealing a sharp rise in the number of people convicted of cruelty offences.

Shocking data released by the RSPCA showed prison terms for offences against animals were up 42 per cent on 2006.

While the number of orders banning people from keeping animals in the wake of a conviction rose by more than a quarter (26 per cent) to 861 last year.

The report also contained accounts of appalling acts against animals witnessed by RSPCA inspectors.

They included a dog found with a wound from a flea collar that was four inches smaller than its neck, 316 rats crammed into seven cages – and the body of a dog chained to a radiator where it had starved to death.

Tim Wass, chief officer of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said the animals who suffered were often the “helpless victims of our affluent, throwaway society”.

He explained: “They’re bought on a whim and discarded when the novelty wears off.

Today’s must-have item quickly turns into tomorrow’s cast-off.

“Worse still, some animals are violently abused because they don’t meet their owners’ unrealistic expectations."

Particularly gruesome cases highlighted include Bella the cat, kicked to death for having muddy paws.

And shocking footage shows a cat drop-kicked by a woman while being filmed on a mobile phone.

When it tried to escape, the animal was picked up again and punched repeatedly in the head.

Shockingly, the clip was forwarded to several of the woman's friends.


Nicola Collinson, 22, of Gateshead, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animal.

The court was told that she was drunk at the time and now felt ashamed.

Collinson was sentenced to a lifetime ban on keeping animals, a six-month curfew order and ordered to pay £420 costs.

Another case caught on tape by inspectors showed 61 cats found living in ‘horrendous conditions’ in a house that was, in places, eight inches deep in faeces.

RSPCA Inspector Ben Strangwood said: “I’ve never seen a house like it. These cats were living in the most horrendous conditions. There were faeces everywhere - on the floor, on the sofa and the kitchen worktops. Inside the wardrobes it was eight inches deep.”

Back to health ... Kaiser

The figures also showed how other cases had a happier ending, where the animal survived and was re-homed.

These included a Staffordshire bull terrier whose owners cut its ears off to make it look more macho and a border collie which was stabbed and had its legs broken, the RSPCA said.

Black Labrador cross Kaiser was found in a filthy cage in Buckinghamshire, in June 2007.

The 18-month-old had been kept in the cage without food or water. His coat was covered in excrement and there were urine scalds on his right side and paw, caused by sitting or standing in urine.

He was also very underweight - but now he is a picture of health.

The figures also showed the number of people convicted for cruelty to animals rose last year by almost a quarter.

Some 1,149 people were convicted for crimes against animals including dogs, cats, horses and rats - up from 927 in 2006, the RSPCA’s annual cruelty statistics showed.

A total of 54 prison sentences were imposed, including ones for an owner who stabbed and tortured his ten-month-old border collie, the RSPCA said.

The number of prison terms was up 42 per cent on 2006, while 71 suspended sentences were imposed.

The number of orders banning people from keeping animals in the wake of a conviction rose by more than a quarter (26 per cent) to 861 last year.

Mr Wass added: “The main reason we take people to court is to prevent suffering and save lives, and it’s very reassuring to see the courts taking this seriously by issuing more and more banning orders, which prevent those convicted of cruelty from keeping animals in future.”

Some readers may find the following pictures disturbing:

Before and after ... abused dog Warrier with owner Jenny Bentley

Kaiser ... caged and after rescue

Buster ... back on form

Cat’s the way ... Buster with feline friend Lenny

Loved ... Buster and new owners Carly and Les Church

Abused ... Saffron
That doesn't mean that animal abuse in Britain has gotten any worse though, only that they're cracking down on it, convicting more for it. Statistics can be slippery things.
L Gilbert
Either way, I think cruelty is subhuman.
I have a stray living in my back yard right now (til we can get her wounds healed and get her spayed and adopt her out) who is quite terrified of most adults. She's the queen of passive resistance, so, she doesn't really run away or anything, but, she won't come when called by adults, she cowers when hubby reaches for her, she's has all the classic reactions of having been beaten. The reason she sticks around, the only way to get her to do what you want, is our children. She will come when called, walk on a leash, whatever the kids want. She breaks out of the yard if the kids leave it for any reason, running straight through the fence one time to get to my daughter, and the only way to get her to come back is for the kids to return too.

It pisses me off that someone would beat that much fear and mistrust into an animal.

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