'Heartbreaking' figures from RSPCA reveal more than 450 animals suffered physical cruelty across South Yorkshire
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It said the figures are "heartbreaking", and suggested the end of the coronavirus pandemic and the soaring cost of living as possible factors.
Numbers from the charity show 457 incidents of animal beatings recorded in South Yorkshire last year – up from 394 in 2021 – a rise of 16 per cent.
Across England and Wales, the RSPCA recorded 22 per cent more violent incidents in 2022 than the previous year, with the charity receiving 9,700 reports, or the equivalent of 26 per day.
The number peaked in August at 1,100, while 77 per cent of all complaints related to physical abuse.
More animals were also killed in suspicious circumstances, with 891 reports in 2022, up 15 per cent from 775 the year before.
Dermot Murphy at the RSPCA, said: "Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing such sad figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.
"While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase in reports of cruelty, the cost-of-living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in have created an animal welfare crisis with more people getting pets with potentially less time and money to care for them.
"The cost-of-living crisis also means the cost of rescuing animals is at an all-time high and our vital services are stretched to the limit."