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Country faces major crisis in horse cruelty

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The RSPCA says it's facing a cruelty crisis in large parts of our region.

The animal charity has released statistics revealing an increase in cases in Oxfordshire and Hampshire. Many of them involve horses.

Nationally, the RSPCA has taken in nearly 1,000 horses into care in 2017 - the highest number for four years. It costs £3million to care for them.

There have also been 25% more convictions over the past two years for equine offences.

Watch the full report by Mary Stanley here:

A warning some images can be distressing:

The RSPCA have begun a campaign to raise awareness about a surge in cruelty cases.

Number of complaints the RSPCA received about horse cruelty in 2017:

228
DORSET complaints
483
HAMPSHIRE complaints
1,326
OXFORDSHIRE saw a small increase in general animal cruelty cases

Jenny Ride from the RSPCA says they took on 1,000 horses in last year:

Some of those failings can be attributed to a pair from Portsmouth. They were convicted of a string of animal welfare offences. They subjected horses to prolonged neglect. Some battled a worm infestation while others were close to death.

Some horses battled a worm infestation while others were close to death.

Robin Jefferies and Pauline Vinall avoided jail and there's now a call for tougher sentencing overall.

Robin Jefferies and Pauline Vinall

The RSPCA hope that a robust message can lead to a reversal in the current trend.