Deliberate brutality: Why Yorkshire looms large in animal cruelty figures

THE Yorkshire region looms large in a league of shame of animal cruelty which is published today revealing the number of investigations into and convictions of those injuring pets and wildlife.

'DELIBERATE BARBARITY': Badgers were killed in Bradford and mobile phone footage uploaded to Instagram. PIC: RSPCA

The RSPCA today put out its annual figures for the number of complaints it probed in 2016 compared to the previous year, and shed a light on acts that one senior inspector described as “deliberate brutality”.

One case in Redcar involved perpetrators filming a dog that was repeatedly thrown down stairs, stamped on and head-
butted.

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And in Bradford a gang of men were convicted after they made a pack of dogs savage badgers which they “kicked like footballs” and hit with spades before uploading footage of it on to social media website Instagram.

Issued by RSPCA.

Dermot Murphy, assistant director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: “It continues to outrage and sadden me that people can be capable of such deliberate brutality towards animals, but equally it drives me on to ensure that perpetrators of animal cruelty are put before the courts.”

The number of complaints investigated in West Yorkshire was second only to Greater London in 2015 and 2016, with 7,694 and 7,920 reported offences looked into during those years, respectively.

But it topped the list for the amount of people convicted throughout England and Wales during the same period – this rose from 81 in 2015 to 94 last year, amounting to 44 people more than the second-highest offender North Yorkshire.

South and East Yorkshire were joint tenth on the table of counties which featured the highest conviction levels – fetching 44 between them last year compared to 39 in 2015.

Issued by RSPCA.

Overall, there were 188 convictions in Yorkshire in 2016.

South Yorkshire was also seventh on the list of areas which received the most complaints.

In Redcar, North Yorkshire, two men pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a bulldog, called Baby, by subjecting her to unnecessary physical violence.

They were disqualified from keeping animals for life with no appeal for 20 years and sentenced to a 21 weeks suspended sentence, a six months tagged curfew and ordered to pay £300 costs.

RSPCA Inspector inspector Gemma Lynch said: “Everyone who has seen the video says it’s the most distressing thing they’ve ever seen. These are people who have seen a lot of horrible things.”

She added: “The man on camera is saying things like ‘One, two, three’ before hurling her down [a set of stairs].

“He is clearly enjoying himself – he’s laughing and smiling.”

Four men pleaded guilty to offences under the Protection of Badgers Act and a fifth was found guilty after the Bradford incident.

Inspector Danielle Grimshaw said: “The videos show the men putting dogs down a sett and encouraging them onto an escaping badger, and pulling badgers out and throwing them to waiting dogs.

“They’re goading the dogs, they’re laughing. All the time you can hear the badgers screaming. They hit the badgers with spades, hold them down while they’re being mauled and kick them like footballs.”

Across England and Wales, inspectors investigated a total of 149,604 complaints last year, compared to 143,004 in 2015 – an increase of 4.61 per cent.