Animal cruelty reports on the rise, RSPCA says

Dudley, the Staffordshire bull terrier Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption A man from Barrow was given an 80-day prison sentence after being filmed beating this Staffordshire bull terrier

A puppy having its head trapped in a door and a dog shot with a crossbow bolt were among a rising number of cases of animal cruelty investigated by the RSPCA last year, the charity said.

Those incidents, in Barrow and Peterborough, were among 159,831 investigated in England and Wales in 2014, compared with 153,770 in 2013.

In another case a rabbit died after being microwaved in Gloucestershire.

However, the number of people convicted for cruelty fell to 1,029 from 1,371.

Greater London was the area with the highest number of complaints at 12,202, followed by West Yorkshire with 8,440 and Greater Manchester with 8,069.

The charity said a total of 20,258 cases involved allegations of deliberate and often violent cruelty.

'Disturbingly inventive'

RSPCA chief veterinary officer James Yeates said: "Most of the complaints we receive involve animals being neglected or not receiving the right care and often we can put that right by offering welfare advice.

"However, it is shocking that people are still being deliberately cruel in what can be disturbingly inventive ways."

There were five prosecutions relating to the "Neknomination" online craze in which people took part in "dares" involving swallowing live fish, frogs and even a lizard.

In April 2014, a 22-year-old man from Tyne and Wear was the first person to be prosecuted by the RSPCA for swallowing a goldfish and posting the footage online.

Overall, West Yorkshire saw the highest number of people convicted at 93, followed by County Durham with 83 and the West Midlands with 64.

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