Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 14:01 UK

Animal cruelty calls 'rise 20%'

Rescued puppy
Calls about animal cruelty have increase 20% in a year

Calls to the Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals (SPCA) have risen dramatically in the past six months, figures have revealed.

The charity said there had been a 20% increase on the same period last year.

During the first six months of 2009, the Scottish SPCA received 69,870 calls from members of the public.

The figures were released as First Minister Alex Salmond opened a new purpose-built animal helpline centre in Dunfermline.

Mike Flynn, of the Scottish SPCA, said the indications were that the Scottish SPCA's animal rescue and re-homing centres would care for far more than the 12,545 animals rescued in 2008.

These new figures show that too many animals suffer neglect or abuse at the hands of humans
Alex Salmond
First minister of Scotland

And he said Scottish courts were also on course to deal with more cases of cruelty to animals than ever before.

He said: "While we always urge the public to call our helpline if an animal is in distress or if they have information about cruelty to animals, this increase is nevertheless staggering and represents a huge strain on our resources.

"We also experienced a 20% rise in calls over the course of 2008, which followed annual increases over each of the previous five years."

Earlier this year the charity was involved in a bitter cash row with the England-based Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) over donations from Scots which did not go towards care for animals in need north of the border.

The Scottish SPCA said since its campaign to raise the issue, awareness among the public had risen significantly.

Mr Salmond urged people to make use of the new animal centre, adding: "It's often said we are a nation of animal lovers, but these new figures show that too many animals suffer neglect or abuse at the hands of humans."



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