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11 people sentenced for killing wildlife in Dorset

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7:37am 29th March 2017

Eleven people were sentenced for killing Wildlife in Dorset last year.

The figures are from the RSPCA who say cases of animal cruelty across the county are going up each year.

Dorset Polices' Operational lead for wildlife crime, Inspector Mike Darby, says it's a contentious issue. "I don't think it's a shocking statistic at all. I know that people poaching and targeting wildlife and committing offences against animals happens every day across the whole of the south west. So that's only a drop in the ocean, the amount of people who have been prosecuted, but it's really good news that these people have been targeted."

Nationally - there were 400 allegations of animal cruelty every day last year - a total of 148,604 and a rise of nearly 5% from 2015. Calls to the RSPCA's 24-hour cruelty hotline also rose by nearly 4%, which amounted to more than 1.15million calls last year - averaging one every 27 seconds.

The RSPCA's leading inspector believes the surge in calls to Britain's biggest animal welfare charity is down to the public becoming more aware and less tolerant of animal cruelty and neglect, rather than a sign that people are becoming crueler.

Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: "I believe that the figures from last year show that we're not becoming crueler, but that people are simply less willing to stand by and do nothing if they think an animal is suffering.

"People are increasingly likely to share images or footage on their social media accounts of animals they believe are not being cared for properly, while many will see material their friends have shared and then contact us about them.

"Either way, our officers are under increased pressure having to respond to more calls and investigate more complaints, but it is thanks to their dedication, as well as RSPCA staff and volunteers across England and Wales that we are able to transform the lives of tens of thousands of animals each year."

The number of people convicted of animal cruelty offences in the region was 93, down from 104 in 2015. Nationally 684 people were convicted, down from 754 in 2015.

The majority of complaints received by the RSPCA in 2016 continued to be about the welfare of dogs (84,994), followed by cats (36,156) and equines (19,530).

There was also a rise in the number of owners who were offered and accepted welfare improvement advice and notices - up to 84,725, compared with 81,475 in 2015.

The latest RSPCA statistics feature in the charity's Prosecutions Annual Report 2016, which is published today (29.3.17).

"People might see these figures as a negative, and I certainly take no cheer from knowing that any animal has suffered. What I do take pride in is knowing that because of the RSPCA's intervention we have prevented many more animals from suffering at the hands of those who we have successfully investigated and brought before the courts," added Dermot.

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