1. ITV Report

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT - see the animals rescued by the RSPCA after being attacked

An RSPCA officer rescues a swan Photo: RSPCA

Animal charity the RSPCA is today launching a new campaign to help highlight the dangers many animals face - and the risks to charity workers who try to protect them.

The charity rescue thousands of animals a year from abusive situations, with some animals being left badly injured in the attacks.

The animals pictured in this article were among the lucky ones, having been rescued by RSPCA inspectors.

This fox was found in a box with its mouth taped around a stick Credit: RSPCA

The charity says their inspectors have come across heart-breaking examples of cruelty in recent years.

Some of the animals rescued include:

  • A dog beaten with a pole, causing 30 fractures
  • A swan shot with a crossbow
  • A cat beaten against a tree
  • A three-week-old lamb with its ears cut off
  • A lurcher stamped on, run over and stabbed with a potato peeler
  • A bird shot with a blowgun dart through his eye
  • A mouse tortured with a power tool
This bird was shot through the eye with a blow-gun dart Credit: RSPCA

Nelson the Lamb hit the headlines when thugs attacked him and cut off his ears in May this year, when he was just three weeks old.

He was attacked in a field at Highthorn Farm near Gotham in Nottinghamshire. It's thought either a knife or a pair of scissors was used to inflict the wounds.

Nelson the Lamb had his ears cut off Credit: ITV News Central

RSPCA inspector Susan Hammond was first on the scene and spoke of her disbelief that someone could be so cruel.

This is absolutely horrific and I cannot believe that someone would deliberately cause such an awful injury to an innocent animal.

There were no other wounds on the lamb's body and the injuries are not consistent with a dog attack.

Sadly, as a result of the injury, the mother abandoned the lamb and he was found by the farmer.

– RSPCA inspector Susan Hammond

Now, the RSPCA has launched its Everyday Heroes campaign to highlight the work done by their inspectors - many of whom have been threatened themselves in the line of duty.

Guns, knives, hammers and even crossbows have all been turned on RSPCA staff as they try to rescue animals in need.

In 2012 alone, inspectors were attacked 246 times.

This swan was shot through the neck with a crossbow Credit: RSPCA

RSPCA figures from last year also showed that air rifle injuries on animals had increased by almost 40 per cent - around 800 attacks - in 2012 compared to the previous year.

Phoenix the cat was among the victims of such attacks, but was stitched back up by the charity's vets and is now in full health again.

Phoenix the Cat was shot Credit: RSPCA