His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester is expected to visit Birmingham today to open the new flagship RSPCA Animal Centre and Hospital.
Prince Richard will join RSPCA staff and volunteers and the charity's chief executive, Gavin Grant, at the official opening at around 11 o'clock this morning.
The Duke will then be given a tour of the site before speaking with staff and volunteers.
The new centre at Newbrook Farm in Frankley has been in use since the end of 2012 and is the RSPCA's national centre of excellence for animal welfare.
See some of the animals rescued by the RSPCA after being cruelly attacked. This article contains images of animals at the point of rescue.Read the full story ›
Ahead of the launch of their new campaign to highlight the dangers animals and those trying to protect them face, the RSPCA have released some examples of the cases and violence faced by RSPCA inspectors over the past two years.
Cases of animals suffering brutal attacks included:
- 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
Staff investigating violence on animals were threatened with:
- A claw hammer
- A knife
- A crossbow
- A shotgun
- A machete
- Death threats
- Read more: RSPCA's anti-cruelty heroes
I take my hat off to RSPCA Inspectors, I wouldn't want to go into the situations they do and deal with people who have inflicted such barbaric cruelty on defenceless animals - that takes real courage and professionalism.
Sadly dealing with the most stomach-churning suffering is everyday work to these men and women. I dread to think what would happen if they weren't there to help.
These everyday heroes can only help thanks to donations from the public.
The RSPCA say that in 2012 alone inspectors were assaulted or threatened 246 times. The new ‘everyday heroes’ campaign hopes to highlight this growing problem and help both animals and those trying to protect them from suffering violence.
RSPCA figures from last year also showed that air rifle injuries on animals had increased by almost 40 per cent to almost 800 attacks reported to the charity in 2012.
The RSPCA is launching a new campaign today to help highlight the dangers many animals face and the risks charity workers who try to protect them come across.
The charity rescue thousands of animals every year from abusive situations and say many of the animals rescued have suffered horrific injuries from the use of weapons such as metal bars, knifes, guns and crossbows.
They say these weapons are also increasingly being turned on charity staff, who are trying to protect the animals from injury or even death. The RSPCA say three out of four inspectors suffer some sort of abuse every year while doing their job.
Some branches of the RSPCA in the Midlands are unable to take in any more felines due to large numbers of cats needing care, a report has found.
The charity now has more than 1700 cats in care in its regional boarding centres, including the RSPCA Coventry, Nuneaton and District branch, which is full to capacity with 200 cats on a waiting list for places.
Reasons for the crisis include owners who can no longer afford to keep their pet, un-neutered cats having unexpected litters, and owners of un-insured cats giving their pet up due to expensive vet bills, the charity said.
RSPCA officers are trying to catch a duck which has been shot through the neck with a crossbow.
The owner of a local inn said she has seen the duck regularly, "she's been around a lot, coming out of the water for feeding, seems quite happy," Sam Snape said.
"As soon as anybody tries to catcher her or corner here she's off and she'll swim over to the other side of the river, hopefully she's not injured too badly," she added.
The RSPCA is appealing for help in finding who shot a duck through the neck with a crossbow bolt at Lower Lode near Tewkesbury.
The bird didn't die - and as RSPCA officer Lee Hopgood explains, is proving particularly tricky to catch and treat.
The RSPCA has appealed for help to catch whoever shot a duck through the neck with a crossbow bolt.
The duck, a female mallard, is able to fly and feed but has so far evaded all attempts to be caught so that the bow can be removed.
An RSPCA spokesman said it is an offence to shoot wildlife with a crossbow and has appealed for more information.