UK Animal Cruelty Stats Released

The number of people convicted of cruelty and neglect to animals rose by nearly a quarter last year, according to figures announced by the RSPCA today.

Cases revealed ahead of the charity’s major fundraising push, RSPCA Week 2012, include a dog repeatedly stabbed with a potato peeler, a dog the only survivor of a house of horror where five animals died of starvation; a blind kitten found dumped in a carrier bag and two cases involving tens of dogs kept in squalid conditions.

As well as a rise in those convicted under the Animal Welfare Act and other legislation, bans on keeping animals also increased in 2011, along with the number of prison sentences imposed for animal cruelty.

The RSPCA’s Animal Cruelty Facts (2012):

23.5% rise in the number of people convicted for cruelty & neglect (1,341 in 2011)
22% rise in the convictions relating to cruelty to dogs (2,105 in 2011)
21% increase in disqualifications imposed by courts (1,100 in 2011)
27% rise in prison sentences imposed by courts (74 in 2011)
9.3% increase in the numbers of people reported to the RSPCA prosecutions department (3,036 in 2011)
13% rise in the number of phone calls received by the RSPCA (1,314,795 in 2011)

Pets were not the only victims. Cases involving farm animals last year rose as well as a convictions relating to equines (230 in 2011).

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “The RSPCA faces a crisis that is stretching us to breaking point.

We show zero tolerance to animal abusers. Anyone causing animals pain for profit or pleasure will be tracked down and prosecuted.

We need the courts and councils, police and people who care to join us in standing up and getting justice for Britain’s abused animals.”

However, there were some amazing stories of survival including a lurcher-type dog which survived against all the odds after two men broke her back and stabbed her with a potato peeler before dumping her and leaving her to die. Thanks to the efforts of RSPCA and veterinary staff Maggie May has a fantastic new life in a lovely new home.

Beethoven, the dog from the ‘house of horror’, had been left to die along with another dog, two cats and two small animals. The others all suffered a painful and slow death from starvation, but Beethoven was rescued and now has a great new life.

Sally Case, head of society prosecutions, said: “The RSPCA strives to keep animals with their owners wherever possible and offers advice on improving their welfare. Overwhelmingly this advice is followed, but where it isn’t, or where someone has already harmed an animal there has to be a way of ensuring that animals are not left to suffer and the RSPCA is the charity people turn to – and we are struggling to continue providing this service.

“Of course we work closely with governmental and other charitable organisations, but we are the main organisation which prosecutes those who abuse animals and which can prevent cruelty to animals.

Animal Cruelty Facts (2011)

For the second year running – and for a variety of different reasons – the world’s largest animal welfare charity rescued nearly 150 thousand wild, exotic, farm and domestic animals from dangerous and distressing situations.

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The rescue figures include a 23 per cent increase in the number of animals abandoned by their owners – from 5,959 in 2006 to 7,347 in 2007. Almost half of these were cats.

Typical examples of how animals were abandoned* in 2007 include:
· a litter of kittens dumped in a dustbin bag for refuse collectors (London)
· a rabbit abandoned in a box in a crushing machine at a recycling centre (Northallerton)
· a puppy dumped in a cardboard Cadbury’s box on a street in Orpington (Kent)
· five hamsters abandoned in a plastic tub – two of which were dead – at the side of a road (Southampton)

And the worrying trend could be continuing. Just four months into 2008 the Society has already rescued 2,621 abandoned animals, including a three-legged cat with no tail dumped outside a Co-op store this month. (See case studies at the end of the release).

Equally concerning are some of the bizarre reasons given to the RSPCA by owners no longer wanting their pets, for example: “My dog hurts my legs when she wags her tail” and “my cat doesn’t match my new carpet.”

Type of Animal 2006 2007 % Change
Cat 33,290 29,987 11.0
Dog 9,532 7,903 20.6

This news comes at the start of RSPCA Week (28 April – 4 May) – the Society’s largest annual fundraising and awareness raising push.

Commenting on the figures Tim Wass, chief officer of the RSPCA inspectorate, said: “From birds injured by oil spills to stranded cattle, and cats in road traffic accidents to dogs simply abandoned by their owners, the RSPCA was on hand last year to help all types of animals whatever the emergency.

“Last summer we deployed the biggest number of RSPCA staff for a generation to the rescue of farm animals, horses and other much-loved pets from the severe floods that swept the country.

“Sadly we also noticed a rise in the number of animals callously abandoned. It is an offence to abandon any animal and there is never any excuse for doing so. If people have pets they cannot care for, for any reason, then help and advice is always available from the RSPCA.

“During RSPCA Week we want people to spare a thought for the many thousands of animals needing the RSPCA’s help each year and in particular for anyone thinking about getting a pet to consider the responsibility they are taking on before doing so.”

*The term ‘abandoned’ is used for an animal that has been left completely alone to fend for itself has not been handed over to an RSPCA centre or any other organisation or individual to care for it.
**The term ‘rescue’ refers to all animals that the RSPCA rescues for a wide range of different reasons, including animals that are sick and injured, in road traffic accidents, trapped in dangerous places and abandoned.

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Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine is the the online editor at She is an experienced dog owner and professional writer who lives with her two beloved dogs, Mabel and Charlie.


  1. Dear Sirs,
    I wish to make you aware of an incident of mine which I did not report to the police but to me is unresolved and unusual. I live in a semi rural area and kept rabbits in my back yard, secured behind two doors. When I returned home from work I found that my German Lop rabbit had her nose hanging off. It required emergency treatment. There was no injury to my other rabbit or any signs of disturbance. She recovered but ever since was prone to chest infections, not having any nostrils. I give you the date of it, just in case it ever happens to anyone else. If it was cruelty and a crime then it was indeed henious. 30.8.06
    Kind regards.
    Audrey Nelson

  2. Wow that is shocking. This really helped me with a school project but it mainly made me think how unaware of these things we are. An owner of rabbits myself, i was shocked my audreys story and i was horrified to read about the things some evil people do to animals.
    I just hope I can make others see with my campaign.
    Thank you,

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