Animal cruelty complaint numbers fall - but thousands still recorded
The number of complaints of cruelty against animals in our area has fallen in the past year, but there are still thousands of incidents of animals being mistreated, new figures show.
The RSPCA says that 3,384 complaints were investigated in County Durham, which also includes Hartlepool, in 2017, down from 3,888 in 2016.
There were 3,253 complaints investigated in 2015.
This year the charity is focusing on the plight of horses as animal rescuers and welfare charities struggle to cope with an ongoing “equine crisis”.
One shocking case which the Mail reported on recently was when a dog was thrown into the freezing sea off the coast of Hartlepool last November.
We previously reported that a member of the public had witnessed three men with nine muzzled greyhounds at the sea, through the Brus Tunnel in the town.
And, after walking out on a structure into the sea, one of the men was seen repeatedly throwing a dog into the water and yanking it back out on a long line.
Later, a second person, who was some distance away with his children, passed on photographs of the incident.
The witness, who did not wish to be named, said he and the youngsters were left shaken by what they saw happening to the dogs.
The horrifying incident made national news.
With the charity this year focusing on the plight of horses, it has been revealed that there were 646 complaints involving equines in County Durham in 2017, down from 734 in 2016.
The RSPCA’s inspectorate national equine co-ordinator Christine McNeil said: “We’ve been talking about the horse crisis for several years now, but the truth is the situation is just as severe today as when it started.
“Last year we took in more horses than we have in any of the past four years (980), and with our inspectors being called to rescue more and more every week, we are stretched to the limits.
“Up and down the country, horses are being found sick, or dumped liked rubbish, dying or dead.
“Distressingly, this is common and it’s a huge issue.
“We are constantly receiving calls to our cruelty line - on average 80 per day about horses alone - as well as messages every day on social media from very concerned and upset people asking for our help.”
Anyone concerned about an animal’s welfare can report an incident to the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care go to www.rspca.org.uk/suffering.