According to recent figures released by the RSPCA, the number of people convicted of animal cruelty and animal neglect in England and Wales rose by nearly a quarter last year.
This includes a 22% rise in convictions involving dogs.
Figures from the RSPCA also show a 27% increase in prison sentences imposed by the courts which is welcome news for those of us who have previously been appalled at some of the lenient sentences that are often given to animal abusers.
As a result of this increased workload, the RSPCA says it is now struggling to cope.
Chief executive Gavin Grant said: “The RSPCA faces a crisis that is stretching us to breaking point. We need the courts and councils, police and people who care to join us in standing up and getting justice for Britain’s abused animals.”
The RSPCA is seeing a huge increase in the number of calls received from the public, a rise of 13% on the previous year, with 2011 numbers reaching 1.3 million. The RSPCA investigated 160,000 complaints about animal welfare in 2011.
It’s important to remember however that the RSPCA made the decision in 2010 to stop taking in stray animals from Local Authorities*. As such their organisation should presumably now have more resources available specifically for investigation of animal cruelty and conviction of animal absuers, so the increased number of convictions could, at least in part, be in relation to their increased resources.
(*This does not include all independent branches, some of which still take in stray animals from Local Authorities)