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Last Updated: Wednesday July 26 2006 10:11 GMT

'Worrying rise' in animal cruelty

Jessie the dog was mistreated
The number of animals being badly treated has risen alarmingly in the past year, says the animal welfare charity the RSPCA.

The amount of people punished for cruelty to animals has risen from 1,700 in 2004 to 2,071 in 2005.

The charity says the biggest problem is people not taking enough care of their pets, but violence towards animals has shown a big increase too.

They are especially worried about how violent the attacks were getting.

Of all the animals the RSPCA saw in 2005, nearly 26,000 didn't have access to clean water, more than double the previous year's number.

More than 34,000 animals were in pain, or had an injury or disease, and 33,000 did not live in a clean environment.

Jackie Ballard, head of the RSPCA, said: "2005 will go down as one of the most violent towards animals."

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