'Physical and mental scars!' Warning of 'summer of suffering' as dog cruelty figures rise

The RSPCA is preparing for a "summer of suffering" as figures reveal an increase in dog cruelty since the start of the pandemic.

Bruce was found with scalding burns on his back
Bruce was found with scalding burns on his back

The charity received an average of 10 reports an hour of dogs being victims of cruelty last year, a 16 per cent increase since 2020.

In Shropshire, there were 402 reports to the RSPCA of dog cruelty during this period. Of these, 71 were classed as intentional harm and 241 were reports of neglect.

There are now an estimated 13 million dog owners in the UK, an increase of four million since 2020, with lockdown causing an unprecedented surge in demand.

The charity is worried more dogs will fall victim to abuse and abandonment as the cost of living crisis takes hold, adding financial pressures on pet owners.

To help, the RSPCA has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, which aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals and raising awareness.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Every year, we see many dogs coming into our care bearing the physical and mental scars that were inflicted at the hands of the very people who were meant to keep them safe and love them unconditionally.

"A 16 per cent increase of dogs being cruelly treated in a year is really concerning. This year the cost of living crisis has added a further dimension and we believe we could see people really struggling to care for their pets, which may lead them to lash out or could see more animals than ever being abandoned or given up.

"As a charity, we are bracing to tackle a summer of suffering but we cannot do this without your help and we rely on public support to carry on our rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming work."

To help support the RSPCA, visit rspca.org.uk/stopcruelty

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