There's been a rise in animal cruelty reports in Dorset

ANIMAL cruelty in Dorset is on the rise with beatings, mutilations and killings described as “heartbreaking” by a concerned RSPCA.

Latest figures from the RSPCA show an alarming increase in intentional cruelty against animals including 146 reports in Dorset last year – an increase of 13 per cent compared to 2021.

This is in line with the situation nationally, where cruelty incidents have increased by 14 per cent on last year.

The RSPCA specifically noted an incident in Poole when a gull was shot from the sky with an air weapon.

Eyewitnesses saw the gull being shot by an unidentified group of youths in April, before they began kicking the injured bird while it was struggling on the ground.

The gull was left with shattered wings and had to be put to sleep because of the severity of its injuries.

Lewis Taylor, chief inspector for Dorset, said: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising.

“Sadly, the number of cruelty incidents in Dorset are also too high. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.

“While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase, the cost-of-living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in has created an animal welfare crisis with more people getting pets with potentially less time and money to care for them.”

Mr Taylor added: “Each year, these reports of cruelty reach its terrible annual peak in the summer months – when nationally we receive a report of an animal being beaten on average every hour of every day.

“The cost-of-living crisis also means the cost of rescuing animals is at an all-time high and our vital services are stretched to the limit.”

National figures released by the RSPCA shows:

- In 2022, the charity saw a 22 per cent increase in reports of beatings.
- The number of animals killed in ‘suspicious circumstances’ increased in 2022 by 15 per cent.
- 77 per cent of all cruelty complaints reported to the charity in 2022 were beatings.
- The number of reported beatings in 2022 peaked in August, when 1,081 reports were received – equating to 35 a day.