animal cruelty web

RSPCA launches campaign as animal cruelty reaches annual peak

THE RSPCA has launched a new campaign to ‘Cancel Out Cruelty’ as figures released yesterday show there have been 1,731 reports of deliberate cruelty to animals in Somerset in the last five years.

The charity has released the figures – which you can view on an interactive Cruelty Map – as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, to help raise funds.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “The money will be used to keep its rescue teams out on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help and raise awareness about how we can all help stamp out cruelty for good.

“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.

“July is a particularly busy month for investigating cruelty – last year the RSPCA dealt with a spike in intentional cruelty as 1,532 incidents were called through to their emergency helpline and the charity is expecting a similar spike this July.

“Beatings, knife crime, drowning and intentional killing are just some of the horrific incidents RSPCA animal rescuers deal with every day.”

Several reasons for increase

Dermot Murphy, head of RSPCA animal rescue teams, said: “We always sadly see a rise in cruelty during the summer months. As well as more people being out and about in the longer sunny days, seeing and reporting abuse, we feel there are a number of factors which contribute to this rise.

“Unfortunately, the hot summer days can lead to more people drinking alcohol in the sun which can be a factor in causing violence. There could also be boredom during the long holidays and more pressures at home – when the whole family is on holiday from school and work, existing difficulties in the home can be magnified.

“During these hot months, calls to our cruelty line rise, putting more pressure on our already stretched frontline rescue teams.

“Police forces reported a rise in domestic violence last year during lockdown and we are concerned that similar pressures which led to this rise may also have impacted on more cruelty to animals behind closed doors during the pandemic.

“The past year has seen a reportedly huge rise in pet ownership and we know most people would not dream of harming an animal.

“However, we are concerned that, as we come out of lockdown and people return to their jobs outside the home or suffer financial pressures, we will see more animals suffer if their owners find themselves unable to cope.

“We are urging people in Somerset to support our campaign to Cancel Out Cruelty so we can all work together to end cruelty towards animals.

“We urge anyone who wants to report animal cruelty to us to call our hotline on 0300 1234 999.”

RSPCA national facts and stats:

  • In 2020 they received 354,784 calls to their cruelty hotline during the summer months (June-August) about all kinds of cruelty and neglect

  • In 2020 they received 4,339 reports about intentional cruelty during the summer months (June-August) – around 47 a day or 2 an hour

  • July is their busiest month for investigating complaints – last year they received 34,550 calls throughout the month. The average number of calls they got a month last year was 25,072

  • In 2020 they received 8,214 calls about someone beating an animal – that’s 22 a day – almost one an hour

  • They also received 1,496 calls about improper killing in 2020 – an increase from 964 in 2019

  • This is an increase from 2019 when they received 5,757 calls about someone beating an animal

  • The RSPCA has had almost 100,000 reports of intentional harm to animals over the last five years

  • Every day the RSPCA has an average six reports of people killing or attempting to kill animals


Hotspot map

The RSPCA’s interactive Cruelty Hotspot map shows how many reports of intentional cruelty to animals the charity has received for each county in the last five years.

The RSPCA’s rescue teams need support to stay out on the frontline as the only charity rescuing animals and investigating cruelty.

  • £6 could help pay to feed a dog for a day in their care

  • £10 could help pay towards bandages for a cat or dog

  • £15 could help pay for a cat or dog’s clinical exam

  • £20 could help pay towards a bird-catching kit

  • £30 could help pay for a life-jacket for an inspector

  • £100 could help pay towards water rescue equipment

  • £500 could kit out a 4×4 inspector van

To donate to the Cancel Out Cruelty campaign and help them continue to rescue animals in need, visit

You can also help Cancel Out Cruelty by volunteering, becoming a campaigner to help them change the law for animals for the better, by becoming a fundraiser for the RSPCA, by learning more about animals through their Compassionate Families programme, buying a Cancel Out Cruelty T-shirt and showing it off on social media, or by pledging to help animals in other ways, such as learning more about your pets’ needs, or learning how to help wildlife.

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