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18 June 2014, 07:28
There's been a rise in the number of people being convicted of cruelty to animals across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Latest figures from the RSPCA show 37 people were found guilty of a total of 97 offences last year - up about 10% on 2012.
The charity's officers in the South West investigated 32,119 complaints in 2013, compared to 31,657 in 2012. Nationally the number of complaints also increased - from 150,833 in 2012 to 153,770 in 2013.
The number of convictions for animal cruelty or neglect again totalled more than 600 for the second year running (625 in 2013, 665 in 2012). Despite the slight decrease overall, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Worcestershire all saw increases in the number of convictions.
In Hampshire last year, 36 people were convicted of 93 offences, up from 34 people for 87 offences in 2012.
On the Isle of Wight, one person was convicted of 4 of four offences, compared to none the year before.
Inspector Hammond said:
"Help and advice had been offered previously and sadly animals were still left to suffer through a simple lack of care."
David Bowles, head of external affairs at the RSPCA, said:
"Whilst we are heartened that the numbers of convictions have decreased in most areas, the fact that we are investigating more and more complaints shows that there is still a culture of cruelty out there."
The national figures show that dogs were still the animal most likely to be involved in cruelty cases, with 2,505 related convictions, although encouragingly this was slightly down on 2012 (2,568). The RSPCA also emerged as the country's biggest dog rescuer, collecting more than 17,500 dogs in 2013.
David Bowles added:
"Although there have been fewer convictions relating to dogs, we are still rescuing more and more and the fact is that the RSPCA takes in some of the most needy dogs - we don't pick and choose by breed or by the desperate lives that they've lived before they came to us."
"I think we should be proud that, despite taking in some very damaged animals, we rehomed an incredible 55,323 animals in 2013."