439 reports of cruelty in Bedfordshire last year - including poorly Percy found in a Luton garden
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According to the RSPCA, there were 439 reports of dog cruelty in Bedfordshire last year, with 97 classed as intentional harm.
Take the case of poor skinny Percy who was found wandering round a garden in Luton.
RSPCA inspector Mel Fisher said: “Poor Percy had escaped from his home and was straying in the local area.
"He was skinny and had splashes of red paint on his paws and ears. Residents were concerned because he appeared to be unwell.
"When I collected him he was vomiting and vets at Blackberry Farm Animal Centre diagnosed parvovirus, a serious and highly contagious virus that attacks the intestines and can be fatal in young or weak unvaccinated dogs.”
It was touch and go whether he’d make it but luckily plucky Percy pulled through.
The RSPCA were eventually able to trace his owner who’d been struggling financially to take care of him.
Mel added: “He was signed over into our care and has now been rehomed with a loving new family.”
The charity has revealed a significant increase in dog cruelty since the start of the pandemic with 10 reports an hour – and this is expected to increase in Bedfordshire with a spike during the summer.
There are now an estimated 13 million dog owners in the UK – up from nine million in 2020 – with lockdown causing an unprecedented surge in demand.
And the cost of living crisis could mean more dogs will fall victim to abuse and abandonment as pet owners face increased financial pressures.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines admitted last year’s 16 percent increase in dogs being treated cruelly was really concerning.
"Our officers have dealt with all sorts of horrific incidents including dogs being beaten, stabbed, burned, drowned, poisoned and left to die from starvation,” she said.
> To help prevent suffering the RSPCA has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign to raise funds to enable its frontline rescue teams to save animals in desperate need, as well as awareness about how we can all work together to stamp out cruelty for good