RSPCA reveals dogs are the most persecuted pet in England and Wales

The RSPCA has revealed that dogs are four times more likely to be the victims of intentional harm compared to cats.

As part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, the RSPCA is releasing new figures that highlight how dogs are the most likely pet to be abused by their owners. Over four years (2016-2020), 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.

The 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.

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 of London with a badly broken leg. Did someone do that to her deliberately? It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

The RSPCA gets around 84,000 calls to its cruelty line every month and around 1,500 of those are about intentional cruelty. 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.

In 2020, 7,691 reports of intentional harm against dogs were reported to the RSPCA and, over summer (June to August) in particular, the charity received 2,053 reports.

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