Increase in West Sussex animal cruelty revealed in RSPCA annual report

Dudley the American bulldog who was found emaciated but is now back to his normal weight
Dudley the American bulldog who was found emaciated but is now back to his normal weight

A kitten died after ‘blunt force’ injuries to its head and abdomen, an American bulldog was ‘rescued’ after it lost half its weight, and 50 cats and kittens were discovered in squalid and completely unsuitable conditions at a house.

The three Sussex case studies are detailed in Horsham-based RSPCA’s annual report today which announces a 10% increase in allegations of animal cruelty in West Sussex - 1,733 to 1,912 incidents.

Our officers are under increased pressure having to respond to more calls and investigate more complaints

East Sussex saw the largest increase - a rise of nearly 13% from 1,959 in 2015 to 2,211 in 2016.

Paul Stilgoe, RSPCA Superintendent for the South East said: “I never stop feeling appalled when I look back at the shocking catalogue of cruelty the region’s inspectors are called about. We investigate such horrific cases of abuse and extreme neglect - as this year’s figures and case studies show

“Thankfully, there are also some happy endings to remind us what we strive for. As well as investigating the cruelty, our inspectors and animal centre staff rescue, rehabilitate and rehome thousands of animals a year, and this year there are some particularly touching stories in the region about the lives some of them have gone on to lead.”

The RSPCA’s leading inspector believes the surge in calls to Britain’s biggest animal welfare charity is down to the public becoming more aware and less tolerant of animal cruelty and neglect, rather than a sign that people are becoming more cruel.

Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: “I believe that the figures from last year show that we’re not becoming crueler, but that people are simply less willing to stand by and do nothing if they think an animal is suffering.

“People are increasingly likely to share images or footage on their social media accounts of animals they believe are not being cared for properly, while many will see material their friends have shared and then contact us about them.

“Either way, our officers are under increased pressure having to respond to more calls and investigate more complaints, but it is thanks to their dedication, as well as RSPCA staff and volunteers across England and Wales that we are able to transform the lives of tens of thousands of animals each year.”