Dog cruelty on the rise in Suffolk with over 450 reports last year

Bella and Jemima

New data reveals over 450 reports of animal cruelty towards dogs were made in Suffolk last year. - Credit: RSPCA

New data reveals over 450 reports of animal cruelty towards dogs were made in Suffolk last year.

The RSPCA has revealed a significant increase in dogs being victims of cruelty since the start of the pandemic.

In 2021, 459 cases of animal cruelty to dogs were recorded in Suffolk: 7 abandonments, 6 classed under illegal activity, 72 suffered intentional harm, 59 left unattended, 304 neglected and 11 trapped.

The animal welfare charity attributes this increase to more people becoming dog owners during lockdown and is worried for the summer period when it traditionally sees a surge in calls to its cruelty line.

Anxieties have also arisen surrounding the cost of living crisis adding financial pressures to pet owners, resulting in more dogs falling victim to abuse and abandonment.

Six-year-old poodle crosses Bella and Lila arrived in RSPCA Martlesham in February 2021, having been signed over by their owners after spending all their lives shut in a crate.

Poodle cross dog

Six-year-old Bella arrived at RSPCA Martlesham in February 2021. - Credit: RSPCA

They were "completely shut down, terrified of everything and in a real state having never experienced the outside world."

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Their coats were matted and dirty, they had fleas and they were thick with dirt, urine and faeces.

Staff spent weeks gaining their trust and developed rehabilitation plans to help prepare them for new homes.

Poodle cross dog

Lila was renamed Jemima and now lives happily with a family in Suffolk. - Credit: RSPCA

The pair eventually had a happy ending, as Lila (now Jemima) was adopted by a family from Suffolk to live with their retired racing greyhound and Bella has settled into her new home in Scotland.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: "Every year, we see many dogs coming into our care bearing the physical and mental scars that were inflicted at the hands of the very people who were meant to keep them safe and love them unconditionally.

"Our officers have dealt with all sorts of horrific incidents including dogs repeatedly beaten, stabbed, burned, drowned, poisoned and some have been left to die from starvation. As a charity, we are bracing to tackle a summer of suffering but we cannot do this without your help and we rely on public support to carry on our rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming work."