Rising tide of cruelty in Sheffield

Buca the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Buca the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
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THIS is the shocking reality of animal cruelty in South Yorkshire – as new figures reveal offences are spiralling.

Shivering pup Jack was allowed to develop a horrifying skin condition so severe he lost all the hair of his tan coat.

He later died.

The little Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s mum Buca was so poorly with the same disease she too lost all her hair.

But the dogs represent just two maltreated animals in a soaring set of statistics which has seen concerned calls to the RSPCA rise by 13 per cent in the last year.

The charity’s national control room, based in Rotherham, received more than 1.3 million calls in the last 12 months.

In South Yorkshire alone 78 people were reported to the RSPCA’s criminal department in 2011, and 41 court cases ended in successful prosecutions.

In Derbyshire, 58 people were reported to the prosecutions department, with 18 people convicted.

Nationally, the cruelty conviction rate rose by nearly a quarter to more than 1,300 people, just under 530 of whom were from the north of England, compared to 471 in 2010.

The figures - released ahead of National RSPCA Week which runs from next Monday - prove cruelty to animals remains a growing problem.

And Mike Hogg, the charity’s regional manager, said it is struggling to cope with the sheer number of reports it has to deal with.

“We are the main organisation which prosecutes those who abuse animals, and which can prevent cruelty to animals,” he said.

“We can’t do this without the help and support of the public - and we need it now more than ever.

“The RSPCA is the charity people turn to - and we are struggling to continue providing this service.”

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Buca and her male puppy Jack were mistreated by a woman in Barnsley, who allowed their severe skin condition to spread so badly both lost all their hair.

The woman admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs by failing to take them to a vet, and was sentenced to a six-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work.

She was also banned from keeping animals for six years, and ordered to pay £250 costs.

Buca has now been rehomed with loving owners Duncan and Carol Hardy, from Armthorpe in Doncaster. Renamed Lotty she is settling in to a happy, new life.

Duncan said: “Lotty is fit and well and, after a lot of tender loving care, her fur has come back. She’s a really bouncy dog who loves other dogs and people and has really taken us into her heart.”

The couple rescued Lotty from the RSPCA’s animal centre in Bawtry. RSPCA inspector Paula Clemence said her original owner had ‘turned a blind eye’ to her suffering.

“These dogs were in a terrible state and sadly the puppy was so poorly that despite our very best efforts he died,” she said.

“It took a lot of work but it has been a happy ending for Buca at least, who is now with a new family and enjoying life the way every dog should.”

n Log on to www.rspcaweek.org for more information.

n To donate money visit www.rspca.org.uk/donate or call 0300 123 8000.