The latest figures from the RSPCA show there has been another rise in the number of animal cruelty cases in the North East over the last year. One of the worst cases in the country involved three Shih Tzu dogs in Northumberland.
The owner kept them in appalling conditions and had allowed their hair to grow so long their fur was matted together, preventing them from walking properly. Caution: You may find some of the pictures in this video upsetting.
Durham Police have arrested five men in Darlington on suspicion of animal cruelty offences.
The arrests came after a joint operation between the police and the RSPCA, where police raided addresses in Darlington.
The men, four aged 18 and one aged 19, are suspected of animal cruelty and have been arrested for offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
They are from the Firthmoor area of the town.
“The force is committed to protecting its rural communities and tackling rural crime. Animal welfare is an issue at the heart of those communities and we hope that this morning’s raids reassure people that activities involving animal cruelty will not be tolerated.”
– Deputy Chief Constable Michael Banks
The raids took place following reports from the public of dogs being used to hunt and kill wildlife and domestic pets in the Darlington area.
Eight dogs – six lurchers and two Labradors - have been seized, as well as mobile phones, computers and hunting equipment.
"Where we have evidence that offences have taken place we will take action to bring the individuals involved before a court. I hope this sends a message to anyone involved in this kind of deliberate, abhorrent cruelty – we are actively seeking you and the next knock on the door could be us.”