Animal cruelty convictions down

Via the Beeb:

Animal cruelty convictions down

Convictions for animal cruelty in the UK fell by 20% last year, according to new figures released by the RSPCA.

The charity said the statistics showed people were beginning to listen to its animal welfare message.

It also said new legislation introduced in April was enabling it to intervene earlier to prevent acts of cruelty.

The RSPCA review of 2006 did, however, include “shocking” examples of cruelty including a starving dog forced to eat dead companions to survive.

The charity’s 2006 cruelty statistics showed overall that, although there were more complaints investigated, there were fewer convictions than the previous year…

… Offences against dogs and cats were down by 15.6% and 9.5% respectively, with 891 convictions for crimes against dogs and 240 against cats.

Starvation and failure to call a vet featured heavily in the worst cases, the RSPCA said.

The statistics revealed an increase in offences against horses, ponies and other equines, with 104 offences in 2006, up 33% from 2005.

RSPCA director general Jackie Ballard said the figures were encouraging and the Animal Welfare Act was helping inspectors.

“It’s encouraging to see a fall in animal cruelty generally and we hope that’s a sign that our animal welfare messages are being heard,” she said.

“But the rise in crime against horses and ponies is a very worrying anomaly.

“Today’s figures refer to last year and although the new Animal Welfare Act is only a few months old, so far it seems to be working extremely well.

“Many front-line RSPCA inspectors are reporting that people are responding well to the new law, and increasingly we are able to help prevent animal suffering before it begins.”

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