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BBC Wales's Rhidian Thomas reports
"The RSPCA hopes there's less tolerance of cruelty, and cases are being reported earlier"
 real 28k

Dominic Rudd, RSPCA manager in Wales
"We are seeing some horrific cases"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 9 May, 2000, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Animal cruelty cases rise
Gypsy
Gypsy is just one of hundreds of dogs saved by the RSPCA last year
The RSPCA has commissioned new research into why people are cruel to animals, after a record number of calls for help last year.

The number of cruelty cases reported against animals in Wales grew by 18% during the period.

The RSPCA received 120,000 calls to its Welsh helpline and secured almost 200 convictions for animal abuse.

Across the UK there was a request for help every 20 seconds.


RSPCA Inspector Kevin Paton
RSPCA Inspector Kevin Paton - worst case

One typical case was a six-year-old cross breed dog called Gypsy.

She was found roaming the streets of Llandudno and was almost bald and suffering from a severe skin condition.

The infection was so bad the vet initially thought she would have to be put down.

RSPCA Inspector Kevin Paton said: "I've been an inspector for 25 years and it was probably the worst case of skin I have come across in my service

"There was hardly any hair on the dog when she came in and that was terrible."

New campaign

To combat cases like that the RSPCA wants to know why and when abuse begins.

The new campaign will target children under eight, as new manager for RSPCA in Wales Dominic Rudd explained.

"The younger one can get to children and influence the way they behave later on the better," he said.


Rescued dog
The RSPCA in Wales received more than 120,000 calls

"It is obvious that cruelty is in some children and it is allowed to develop. We really want to try to understand why with the aim of preventing it."

Although more people than ever before called to report cases of cruelty last year, this may not be because cruelty is increasing but because people are more prepared to report it..

The RSPCA hopes there is less tolerance of cruelty, and cases are being reported earlier, means they can save more animals' lives.

Meanwhile Gypsy's case has a happy ending.

Although she will be on medication for rest of her life she has made a remarkable recovery and is enjoying a new lease of life with her new owner.

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See also:

03 Apr 00 | Wales
Uncovering the badger-baiters
23 Feb 00 | Scotland
Wildlife offenders could be caged
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