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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 July 2006, 02:52 GMT 03:52 UK
Animal abuse cases rise by fifth
Gizmo [Copyright RSPCA]
Gizmo was unrecognisable as a dog when found by the RSPCA
Conviction rates for animal cruelty in the UK have revealed a worrying increase in abuse, the RSPCA has said.

The animal welfare organisation said cases in 2005 included a cat dying in a washing machine and a dog whose leg was sawn off by its owners.

Convictions for animal cruelty last year increased by a fifth to 2,071, compared with 1,700 in 2004.

A RSPCA spokeswoman said inspectors had reported an "increase in the level of violence" against animals.

According to the charity, neglect remains the most common crime.

The figures show there has been a sharp increase in the number of animals not receiving basic care.

Nearly 26,000 animals did not have access to water - an increase of more than 100% compared with 2004 - while about 35,000 were not getting suitable veterinary treatment, a rise of nearly 80%.

In the past where an animal was hit once, it's now hit many times or repeatedly or stabbed
Katie Geary
RSPCA spokeswoman

The RSPCA said a big concern was the increase in the level of ferocity in the cases examined.

Spokeswoman Katie Geary said: "From what our inspectors are saying there seems to be an increase in the level of violence.

"So in the past where an animal was hit once, it's now hit many times or repeatedly or stabbed."

Life ban

In one case, Holly Thacker, 34, from Norwich was sentenced to six weeks in jail for deliberately putting her cat Fluffy in a washing machine on a boil wash cycle.

A vet believed it would have taken between five and 10 minutes for the animal to die.

Thacker was banned for life from keeping household pets.

In another case, an RSPCA inspector found a 10-year-old Shih Tzu called Gizmo was so badly matted after not being groomed or trimmed for more than two years that it was unrecognisable as a dog.

The dog's owner, Wendy Callan, 37, from Handsworth, Birmingham, was banned from keeping animals for 10 years.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The RSPCA speak out over rise in animal cruelty



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