Set on fire, mutilated and scalded – just some of the fates experienced by animals in England during a shockingly violent period this fall. A string of brutal attacks from 25 September to 6 October has horrified England’s RSPCA inspectors. Among the victims was a spaniel who captured the hearts of the UK public after her body was thrown in a river with a 10kg weight around her neck. RSPCA chief officer of the inspectorate Andy Foxcroft said the sudden escalation in violence had troubled staff and he urged the public to respect animals and report abusers. “Although we investigate a number of brutal incidents each year, this sudden glut of violent cases is deeply troubling,” he said. “It is dreadful to realise that we live in a society where some people feel it is acceptable to harm animals in such vile ways.
RSPCA Web site “Everyone has a responsibility to protect animals from harm and prevent cruelty. We are asking the public to make a stand and to contact us or the police whenever they witness or suspect animal abuse is taking place,” Foxcroft said. The shocking recent incidents included: 25 Sept – Cat’s ear cut off and posted through (guardian)’s letterbox, in Liverpool 28 Sept – Body of weighted-down spaniel thrown in river, in Southampton 1 Oct – Kettle of boiling water poured over 12-week-old kitten, in Somerset 1 Oct – Youth caught on CCTV apparently kicking hedgehog to death, in East Yorkshire 2 Oct – Half a sliced cat placed on school steps, in Rotherham 3 Oct – Sheep possibly bludgeoned, legs bound and dumped by road, in London 3 Oct – Black Labrador allegedly shot with nailgun, in Nottinghamshire 4 Oct – Cat doused in petrol and set alight, in Bath 6 Oct – Cat killed by trauma to head and hung from tree, in Chichester 6 Oct – Teenagers inflict massive head injuries on elderly cat, in Somerset.
RSPCA director general Jackie Ballard said it was impossible to provide a clear explanation for this sudden escalation in violence, but warned against the possible dangers of animals being demeaned in entertainment. She said: “On our televisions we now see so-called survival shows where a chicken will be killed by amateurs for no other purpose than entertainment. We have celebrities eating live insects and crawling through tubes filled with rats. “We believe that at best this is demeaning to animals and at worst can involve suffering. Our fear is that people will become desensitized and feel it is acceptable to abuse animals for any reason.” “While we have not yet proved a scientific link between the two, it cannot help our message of promoting kindness to animals,” Ballard said. From January the RSPCA’s education team, which helps teach children the value of respecting animals, will refocus its work in the parts of England and Wales where inspectors are at their busiest. Reproduce this Article on a Web Site or in Print Up to 25 education officers will aim to build stronger relationships with schools in these areas in an effort to target their work more effectively, helping teachers to integrate the animal welfare message into Britain’s national curriculum.