RSPCA animal welfare prosecutions in Wales up

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Media captionA man who fired a catapult at dogs was among the successful RSPCA prosecutions

More successful animal welfare prosecutions were secured by RSPCA Cymru in 2016 than either of the two previous years the charity has said.

Cases included a drugged and mutilated Staffordshire bull terrier and a rabbit left to starve in a cupboard.

Last year, 120 convictions were secured in magistrates' courts - compared with 89 in 2015 and 116 in 2014.

The charity wants an offender register for those convicted of animal abuse and disqualified from keeping them.

Image copyright Kay Hawthorn
Image caption Flint was found injured after a suspected badger-baiting incident in Flintshire

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has been asked for a comment.

RSPCA Cymru said the 120 convictions related to 61 defendants - the highest number in Wales for the three-year period.

It said a further 67 offenders were also cautioned by the charity in 2016.

Last year, it investigated a total of 10,540 complaints of cruelty in Wales, compared with 9,895 in 2015 and 11,740 in 2014.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Victor the dog with his ears cut off

Cases in 2016 included:

  • A Wrexham man being sent to prison for 24 weeks after plying a Staffordshire bull terrier with cocaine and cutting the dog's ears off
  • A rabbit left to starve to death in a Swansea cupboard, with three corn snakes also found dead, having been denied sufficient light, food and water
  • Cwmbran couple banned from keeping dogs after allowing husky dogs to become "the thinnest" an RSPCA inspector had ever seen
  • A man fined after CCTV footage caught him using a catapult to attack dogs in Barry
  • Five cats, a dog, a python and a hamster living in a dangerously filthy environment in Llanelli
  • A golden eagle kept in squalid, dirty conditions in a Pembroke kitchen

RSPCA Cymru superintendent Martyn Hubbard, said: "This doesn't suggest more cruelty is necessarily taking place - but that people in Wales are potentially more likely to report it and tools like social media becoming more adept in bringing incidences to light.

"Clearly, however, big challenges remain in protecting the nation's animals."

The charity said a register of offenders would help deter cruelty offences and better protect animals from falling victim to someone who had already been disqualified from keeping them.

Since 2013 in Wales, the RSPCA has prosecuted 11 people for breaching their disqualification from owning and keeping animals.

Claire Lawson, RSPCA Cymru's assistant director of external relations, said: "Animals are now better protected in Wales than ever before - but more still needs to be done to ensure a framework is in place offering them better protection."

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