An RSPCA manhunt to find a shopper seen hitting his dog outside a Sainsbury’s store in Stoke-on-Trent has drawn a blank.
The man – described as white, in his late 40s or early 50s with a stocky build and wearing black trousers and a black jacket – was seen striking his black and white collie-type dog with his hands outside the supermarket in London Road, Stoke.
The incident happened at at 1.40pm on Friday, February 10 but the suspect has never been traced despite several witnesses who were in the foyer at the time coming forward.
The RSPCA issued the update on the incident after releasing new figures which show cruelty towards dogs increased by four per cent in Staffordshire last year.
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In 2022, there were 1,022 reports made to the RSPCA in the area about cruelty to dogs, compared with 980 in 2021. The type of incidents which come under intentional harm are attempted killing, poisoning, beating, improper killing, mutilation and suspicious circumstances. Shockingly, there were 210 reports of intentional harm to dogs in Staffordshire.
Nationally, the number of reports made to the RSPCA about dogs – including intentional harm, neglect and abandonments – in 2022 was 42,690, a 7 per cent increase from 2021 (39,797).
Nichola Waterworth, RSPCA acting chief inspector for Staffordshire, said: “For hundreds of years dogs have been known as man’s best friend – and if you share your home with one, you will know why, as they are such loyal and loving companions.
“But these awful statistics tell a different story. Dogs are the most abused animal in this country and we investigate more complaints about them than any other type of animal.
“Everyone who cares about animals will be sickened to know how many reports we receive about dogs being kicked, beaten, burned or worse. We need the public’s help to Cancel Out Cruelty. Their donations, no matter how small, help keep our frontline officers out on the road rescuing animals and investigating these terrible reports.”
The figures released by the RSPCA also shows:
In 2022 the charity saw a 22 per cent increase in reports of beatings (9,658 in 2022, compared to 7,857 in 2021)
The number of beatings reported to the RSPCA in 2022 peaked in August, when 1,081 reports were received – a staggering 35 a day
The number of animals killed in ‘suspicious circumstances’ increased in 2022 by 15 per cent from by 2021 (891 in 2022, compared to 775 in 2021)
77 per cent of all cruelty complaints reported to the charity 2022 were beatings
Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, 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, the cost of living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in has created an animal welfare crisis.
“Each year, these reports reach its terrible annual peak in the summer months – when an animal is beaten on average every hour of every day. 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.”
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