23/03/2016 02:19 GMT

RSPCA Cruelty Statistics Reveal Dogs Are Most Abused Pet In The UK

'A snapshot of the horrific level of cruelty we have seen in the last year'

Warning: contains images and details that some may find upsetting

A pug puppy punched so hard her jaw fell out, a Chihuahua cross set on fire and a terrier stabbed and left for dead.

These are among the thousands of “depraved” cruelty cases the RSPCA investigated last year.

Latest cruelty statistics released by the animal protection group on Wednesday show that dogs are the most persecuted pet in the UK, resulting in 57% of complaints investigated by the RSPCA.

Cats were the second most abused pet and equines were the third.

A terrier found wandering South Yorkshire streets with skin condition so bad it had left her scabby and bald

Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director for the Inspectorate, said: “People think of dogs as man’s best friend but these statistics tell a different story.

“They are by far the most abused animal in this country and we investigate more complaints related to them than any other species.

“The stories we are telling today show a snapshot of the horrific level of cruelty we have seen in the last year, which have to be some the most extreme cases I have ever heard of.”

Overall 143,004 animal cruelty complaints were investigated by the RSPCA last year, down from 159,831 in 2014.

Despite the slight drop in cases, which the RSPCA attributed to a rise in education and guidance being given to owners, the severity of the crimes is greater.

Murphy said: “Even if some of the overall numbers are lower, the level of depravity we have seen in 2015 cases are up there with some of the most extreme we have ever known.”

A bull terrier was stabbed 11 times and then dumped in a bin to slowly bleed to death

The RSPCA inspector gave a particularly disturbing example of Chunky, a puppy who was beaten, fed drugs and set alight last year.

He said: “Particularly shocking for me was the story of the little Chihuahua cross who was subjected to unimaginable torture for nearly 48 hours, including being set on fire and having his neck broken.

“It is harrowing to think of the amount of suffering caused to this dog.”

Chunky was left for dead in a skip in Kent, but was luckily found by a passerby the following day.

A petition demanding “justice” for Chunky received more than 469,900 signatures.

The four teenagers responsible for his abuse were disqualified from keeping animals for five years and were ordered to pay costs.

'Chunky' the Chihuahua cross was stolen, set on fire, and punched and attacked until his neck broke. He was then dumped at a rubbish tip to die.

A total of 81,146 cruelty investigations against dogs were investigated last year, more than double the number against cats.

The RSPCA has broken down the number of complaints investigated by species:


The animal protection group also assessed the top ten “cruellest” counties.

The highest number of complaints were investigated in London, with more than 11,000 being looked into last year.

Lincolnshire had the fewest number of investigations, with a total of 3,264 complaints.


The RSPCA revealed that the number of people being convicted for cruelty in the South West were on the rise.

Courts in the South West have seen an increase in the number of people convicted of animal welfare crimes. Rescues in the region have also risen.

There were more than 12,000 investigations in the South West into cruelty towards dogs and 5,730 investigations into cat abuse.

The South West had a shocking catalogue of abuse and neglect which RSPCA inspectors had to deal with in 2015, including:

  • More than 50 animals left to suffer in darkness in a dirty, disused slaughter room in Gloucestershire

  • A lurcher found wandering the streets with duct tape tied so tightly round her muzzle in Oxfordshire that she nearly died

  • A Bichon Frise neglected so badly and left with such serious untreated serious medical conditions in Berkshire that she is now almost blind

  • A skeletal mother Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her puppies left to starve by their owner in Wiltshire.

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