COLUMN: ‘Heart-breaking’ animal cruelty on the rise

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It’s been a busy few weeks at the RSPCA, after we released our annual cruelty statistics.

This year, our statistics showed that animal cruelty complaints have increased across England and Wales by 3.5 per cent. This trend is also reflected in the region. In Derbyshire, RSPCA inspectors investigated 3,246 complaints about animal cruelty in 2016 – up from 3,170 in 2015.

Some of the cases which the RSPCA investigated last year are shocking. One which has stayed in my mind is that of a four-month-old foal who was left to die in a country lane in Clowne.

The colt was found by a member of the public in Slayley Hill, on a cold day in January last year. The RSPCA and a vet went to the scene, where the vet said that the foal was so poorly that he had to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering.

It was heart-breaking for the RSPCA inspector who attended. The foal was in a terrible state and was thought to have been dumped overnight.

When he was found, a member of the public kindly put their coat over him to keep him warm but sadly he was too ill to survive. It’ simply callous for someone to dump an animal like this. The foal had been left to suffer alone down an isolated country lane in freezing temperatures.

Not all cases we investigate have a sad ending, though. Ralph, a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy, was rescued last year after being mistreated by his previous owners. As a result of his neglect, he had to have a leg amputated. It’s taken a long time for him to recover, but today he is living such a happy life at a new home. His previous owners were prosecuted and were banned from keeping animals for life.

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