Animal cruelty complaints investigated in the north of England were amongst the highest in the country with Yorkshire seeing almost 17,000 cases investigated by the RSPCA in 2017.
The data released today as part of the RSPCA’s North Cruelty statistics 2018 revealed 16,729 animal cruelty complaints were investigated in Yorkshire with: 2,027 in East Yorkshire; 3,195 in North Yorkshire; 4,538 in South Yorkshire; and 6,969 in West Yorkshire.
Whilst 141,760 complaints about animal welfare were investigated nationally by the animal welfare charity in 2017, in the north of England (including County Durham, Cumbria, East Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and West Yorkshire) a total of 41,023 complaints were looked into.
Equine cruelty remains an ongoing issue with the RSPCA though and this year the charity has said it is focusing on the plight of horses and animal rescuers and welfare charities who struggle to cope with an ongoing equine crisis.
Across the north of England complaints on equine abuse fell from 5,772 to 4,923, however, the issue remains an ongoing crisis and in Yorkshire 2,159 complaints were made about horse welfare in 2017 with: 307 in East Yorkshire; 503 in North Yorkshire; 424 in South Yorkshire; and 925 in West Yorkshire.
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.
McNeil added: “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.”
The RSPCA currently has 928 horses currently in their care.
One of which, is ‘Tom Jones’, also known as ‘Sea Biscuit’, has been in RSPCA care since March 2016.
Tom Jones was removed from his Shipley owner along with two other horses because of concerns over their welfare.
RSPCA inspector Carol Neale said: “Those photos of Tom Jones still haunt us, as I’m sure they do many other animal lovers.
“We acted as quickly as we could within the remit of the law to find him, and that’s when we discovered the other foal 'Juliette' and mare 'Lily' who were also suffering. All were in poor body condition and living in filthy conditions."
Neale added: “Their owner had tried to hide them from us, but with the police and a vet present we were able to locate them.”
The owner was convicted of three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
At a hearing at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court in October, he was sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work to be carried out within the next 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 and a £85 victim surcharge.
Despite being rescued Lily had major issues with her mouth which she was born with and was put to sleep by a vet on humane grounds.
Tom Jones and Juliette are both now a healthy weight and are going to new homes.
If you are concerned about an animal’s welfare, you can report it to the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.