1. ITV Report

North East saw highest number of animal cruelty complaints

County Durham saw the highest number of animal cruelty complaints investigated by the RSPCA in the region last year, according to new figures.

The charity looked into more than 3,000 cases across the county - which was among the highest in the UK.

Amongst these were two dogs abandoned in a house in Northumberland. Credit: RPSCA

The county also came in the top 10 counties in England, with almost 650 complaints about cruelty to horses. Across the North East of England, people expressed equestrian concerns more than a thousand times.

There were 67 prosecutions in County Durham last year, related to animal cruelty.

  • Number of complaints investigated by the RSPCA in 2017
County Durham
North Yorkshire
Tyne and Wear
  • The following embedded photographs were provided by the RSPCA.
  • Warning: some people may find these images distressing.

Some of the cases RSPCA inspectors came across in County Durham included a pony that had been left after collapsing into the mud in a field.

'Noggin' a yearling cob colt, was found lying in a swamp-like conditions when he was rescued by inspectors and the British Horse Society just days before Christmas 2016.

Noggin was found collapsed in a field in County Durham Credit: RSPCA

RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent said Noggin was removed as one of a large herd of 23 abandoned and suffering ponies from Tow Law.

The mudded area where Noggin was discovered Credit: RSPCA

The horses were in very poor condition, the field they were in was barren and there was nothing to shelter the group from the extreme winter weather. He was collapsed, exhausted, extremely cold and almost invisible in a sea of mud, barely alive. In fact my first thought was that he was dead.

– Mark Gent, RSPCA

The RSPCA organised months of intensive care and rehabilitation at a private boarding establishment for the injured pony.

The charity also reported a serious incident in North Yorkshire where a terrier was left to suffer with an untreated brain tumour for months before his owner and a friend severely injured the dog in a botched DIY euthanasia attempt.

Scamp was abandoned in woods in Redcar Credit: RSPCA

‘Scamp’ was found by a couple who were walking through Kirkleatham Woods, Redcar, in October 2016. The dog suffered injuries caused by a hammer and nails to the skull. The terrier was then put to sleep.

Scamp’s owner and friend were both sentenced to four months in prison when they appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court in March 2017.

The x-ray image shows the extent of Scamp's horrific injury Credit: RSPCA

This year the RSPCA is focusing on the plight of horses as animal rescuers and welfare charities struggle to cope with an ongoing equine crisis.