Despite being called ‘man’s best friend’ – dogs are most likely pet to be abused owners new RSPCA figures show
According to new figures, released by the RSPCA today, dogs are four times more likely to be the victims of intentional harm compared to cats.
While there are an estimated 12 million dogs and 12 million cats being kept as pets in the UK*, dogs are much more likely to be the victims of deliberate cruelty.
As part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, the RSPCA is releasing new figures today that highlight how – despite being called ‘man’s best friend’ – dogs are the most likely pet to be abused by their owners.
From 2016 to 2020, 63,881 incidents of intentional harm involving dogs were reported to the RSPCA’s cruelty line; that’s 34 a day or more than one every hour across England and Wales. In 2020, 7,691 reports of intentional harm against dogs were reported to the RSPCA and, over summer (June – August) in particular, the charity received 2,053 reports.
In Wales, the charity’s officers investigated 504 incidents of deliberate cruelty towards dogs in 2020.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said:
We say we’re a nation of animal-lovers and that dogs are man’s best friend.
And yet, 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.
Some of the cases I’ve seen have left me in tears and still stay with me today.
Every time my own RSPCA rescue dog, Flo, comes to curl up beside me on the sofa I wonder what she suffered at the hands of people before she was found wandering the streets with a badly broken leg.
“Did someone do that to her deliberately? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
But, tragically, that’s the reality for so many dogs.
We’ve seen some of the most unimaginable cruelty inflicted on these gentle, sweet creatures.
We’ve seen them beaten, drowned, set on fire, and poisoned.
Our officers have been able to save some of them; getting to them just in time and finding them collapsed, bloodied, and hopeless.
Others have died at the hands of their tormentors, but none should experience such cruelty.
The RSPCA gets around 84,000 calls to its cruelty line every month and around 1,500 of those are about intentional cruelty.
But the charity sees a rise in the summer by around 400 calls, on average, per month, which equates to 47 calls every day or two every hour.
Incidents of intentional harm (by pet type)
RSPCA Cymru’s campaign aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help as well as raise awareness about how we can all work together to stamp out cruelty for good.