Horrific deliberate cruelty and animal neglect have been investigated by RSPCA Cymru’s inspectors in 2017 – as prosecutions hit a FOUR-YEAR HIGH in Wales.
Throughout 2017, 148 convictions were secured by the RSPCA in magistrates’ courts across Wales, compared to 120 in 2016, 89 in 2015 and 116 in 2014.
Levels of animal cruelty have been branded “extremely shocking and deeply saddening” by the RSPCA’s superintendent in Wales. In total, the RSPCA investigated 10,176 complaints of cruelty over the calendar year.
The 148 convictions relate to a total of 67 defendants – a rise on the 61 convicted in the previous year. A further 52 offenders were cautioned by the animal welfare charity in 2017.
Some of the shocking cases sentenced in 2017 include:
A Pembrokeshire man who failed to provide proper care for five equines, in what the RSPCA inspector described as the “worst case of overgrown hooves” he had to deal with in 18 years on the job (info and video here).
A Blaenau Gwent man who dumped a helpless, unwell German shepherd dog, concealed in a piece of carpet on the side of a Fochriw road (info here).
A man who admitted bludgeoning a cat to death at a Conwy hotel (info here).
Three men who launched a rat out of a pipe like a cannonball at a Merthyr Tydfil garage (info here).
A Deeside man who left his Jack Russell terrier with a “horrendous” leg injury (info here).
A mastiff-type dog was left to suffer in conditions so bad the smell “burned the eyes” of an RSPCA inspector, in one of the “worst cases of neglect” she had ever experienced (info and video here).
A man and a woman from Llanelli who were handed suspended prison sentences, and banned from keeping animals for eight years, after a video emerged on social media which showed a pony being brutally whipped and kicked (info here).
RSPCA Cymru’s superintendent Martyn Hubbard said: “It is extremely shocking and deeply saddening to see this level of horrific cruelty across Wales.
“The number of convictions secured now stand at a four-year high in Wales, with our inspectors dealing with disturbing and unique cases of deliberate abuse towards helpless animals.
“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.
“There is just no excuse for animal cruelty and will continue to ensure animal welfare laws are adhered to.
“Prosecution is always a last resort for the RSPCA – and court cases were the huge minority of the 28 complaints we investigated on average every single day of 2017.
“Nevertheless, the nature of cases dealt with by our frontline officers throughout 2017 once again demonstrates the importance of this work, and the necessity of securing justice for abused and neglected animals in all corners of the country.”
Many of the incidents dealt with by RSPCA Cymru throughout 2017 concerned horses, and other equines. The animal welfare charity is also today 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.
Last year, there were 17 convictions in relation to equines in Wales and RSPCA inspectors dealt with 1,331 equine calls which involved 4,616 equines in total.
The RSPCA’s inspectorate national equine co-ordinator Christine McNeil said: “The cases we had in Wales of equine neglect were extremely shocking in 2017, including a case which an inspector described as the ‘worst case of overgrown hooves’ he had ever dealt with in his 18-year career.
“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 it’s 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.”
To report a horse – or any other animal – in need of our help you can call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
* – Please note that complaints investigated can have any number of outcomes including prosecution and welfare advice, but may also include those where, upon looking into them, there was not sufficient evidence to take further action, or where there was no cause for concern.