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Animal Cruelty Soars in the Southwest

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7:01am 24th April 2012

Animal cruelty has soared in the south west.

The RSPCA says the number of people convicted is up 60% in a year. In 2011, 204 people were convicted for cruelty and neglect, and four people were sent to prison.

It includes everything from cats and dogs being kicked and hit to pets not getting fed.

Hayle welfare worker Louise Barker described the worst case she has seen. She said, "We've had a very, very malnutritioned dog come through, a Collie dog. She looked like she'd been left in a malnutritioned state for years rather than months and her bones were just sticking through. She'd got sores all over her.

"People do get to the end of their tether and they're sometimes too embarassed that they've let their animal get into a certain state. We can just plead with people really, even if they've got to a stage where they know it's gone too far, to just ring us."

The RSPCA says it is facing a crisis that is stretching it to breaking point.

John Tresidder is Regional Superintendent for the South and South West said, "A lot of people are struggling with animal costs. At a time when unemployment's rising, perhaps benefits are being cuts, animals are almost a bit of a luxury aren't they? Certainly the demands on our financial help from our local branches, they're rising all the time.

"It's disheartening when you see the number of prosecutions but it's a good deterrant. It proves that the law has got teeth, and most of all, it does mean that when we rescue an animal, we can keep that animal, rehabilitate it, and then put it in a good home."

7:01am 24th April 2012

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