Over 2,000 incidents of "unimaginable" cruelty against cats reported to RSPCA in Yorkshire last year

On a 28 degree day last summer two cats were trapped and abandoned in a bag, before being rescued by a member of the public
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Figures released by the RSPCA today as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign show 2,112 cat cruelty complaints were made in Yorkshire last year. 

Nationally, there were almost 18,000 cat cruelty complaints reported to the RSPCA. 1,726 of these were intentional harm incidents, which is a 25% increase from 2021, and equates to around five incidents per day.

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Beth Clements, RSPCA chief inspector for West Yorkshire, 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.

This cat was abandoned in a builder's bag in Leeds in 28 degree heatThis cat was abandoned in a builder's bag in Leeds in 28 degree heat
This cat was abandoned in a builder's bag in Leeds in 28 degree heat

“Each year, these reports reach their terrible annual peak in the summer months. 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.”

One possible reason why animal cruelty reports increase in the summer is that people are more likely to witness incidents of abuse the more time they spend outdoors.

Dr Sam Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animal department, said: “It is heart-breaking to think that five cats every day are suffering at the hands of humans - it really is appalling - but sadly the RSPCA knows all too well that this cruelty is carried out on a regular basis.

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“We see hundreds of felines come through our doors every year who have been subjected to unimaginable cruelty - being beaten, burned, thrown around, had bones broken, been shot at, poisoned and drowned.”

In Huddersfield, a dead cat was found at the side of a canal with blood on its stomach. It appeared to RSPCA inspectors that someone had tried to drown the cat, which managed to get itself out of the water, and subsequently died from its injuries.

Dr Gaines added: “In many cases these pets have been injured deliberately by their owners - the very people who are supposed to love and protect them. But cats are also more vulnerable as they tend to be out and about on their own which can leave them vulnerable to airgun attacks and other forms of cruelty by complete strangers.”

On one weekend last summer when temperatures reached 28 degrees, two cats were trapped and abandoned in a bag, and rescued by a woman who found them dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed.

The other cat found in the bag in Leeds, rescued by a member of the publicThe other cat found in the bag in Leeds, rescued by a member of the public
The other cat found in the bag in Leeds, rescued by a member of the public
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RSPCA inspector Adam Dickinson said: “It really beggars belief that someone would deliberately abandon any animal in circumstances like this.

“Although they were understandably bewildered and nervous by what had happened, they’re friendly, nice-natured cats and there’s no doubt they were once somebody’s pets.”

The RSPCA is the only charity in England and Wales investigating cruelty and rescuing animals on the frontline. Information about donating or supporting them can be found on their website.

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