1. ITV Report

Report shows animal cruelty rise

An RSPCA behavioural trainer cuddles two rescued dogs Photo: PA Images

Convictions for animal neglect and cruelty rose by nearly 34 per cent in 2012, according to a new report by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

The RSPCA Prosecutions Annual Report also shows there was a 15.7 per cent increase in the number of defendants convicted last year in England and Wales. Animals rescued or collected by the RSPCA increased from 119,126 to 130,695, a 9.7 per cent rise (plus the rescue of 64,000 farmed chickens from one flooded barn).

The RSPCA is leading the fight against a growing animal cruelty crisis. Our staff, volunteers and branches show tremendous dedication but they are struggling to keep up.

For us, prosecution is always the last resort. Our inspectors investigated 150,833 suspected cruelty cases and issued 78,090 advice notices last year - these are extremely effective in improving the care of animals.

However if there is evidence of a crime and serious animal abuse then we will take legal action to protect the animals and prevent further abuse. We also want to see judges taking these offences far more seriously."

– RSPCA Chief Executive Gavin Grant

The report shows that most places saw a rise in the number of convictions from 2011 to 2012.For the Meridian region, the numbers were:

Berkshire: 8 convictions for 2012

Buckinghamshire: 17 convictions for 2012

Dorset: a rise from 17 to 20

Essex: a rise from 24 to 32

East Sussex: a rise from 7 to 17

West Sussex: a fall from 17 to 8

Hampshire: a rise from 29 to 34

Isle of Wight: 0 to 0

Kent: a rise from 49 to 62

Oxfordshire: a rise from 9 to 18

Wiltshire: 18 convictions for 2012

The report can be read online and shows a catalogue of deliberate cruelty and neglect - some of the worst cases ever seen by RSPCA inspectors.