Convictions for animal cruelty increases after ‘extreme depravity’

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MORE and more owners who let their pets get in a disgusting condition in Hampshire are being convicted following prosecutions by the RSPCA.

Figures released today by the animal cruelty charity show there were 21 convictions in 2015 in Hampshire, up from 14 the previous year.

One of the dogs that was found in a wretched state near Winchester last year, having its matted fur shaved off

One of the dogs that was found in a wretched state near Winchester last year, having its matted fur shaved off

The number of rescues and collections has dropped to 3,730 from 3,860.

But a senior boss at the charity has warned the ‘level of depravity’ in cases last year were some of the ‘most extreme’ the charity has seen to date.

Last year nine almost unrecognisable poodle-crosses were dumped on the outskirts of Winchester with some taken to Stubbington Ark, Fareham, to recuperate.

All of their fur had to be shaved off as some were struggling to walk under the sheer weight of their matted and overgrown coats.

RSPCA Inspector Jan Edwards

The sight of those poor dogs will never leave me. It’s the worst case I have ever seen.

RSPCA inspector Jan Edwards said she was shocked at the sight of the dogs, eight of which were aged around 18 months, with one a little older at three.

She said: ‘The sight of those poor dogs will never leave me. It’s the worst case I have ever seen.

‘Even if just one of these dogs had been found in this state I would be appalled, but to find nine of them in such a bad way is incredibly upsetting.

‘Everyone who has seen these dogs, even the vets, are shocked by their appearance.’

A healthier Mavis with her new owner Sally Firth

A healthier Mavis with her new owner Sally Firth

All of the dogs – Sian, Dave, Faye, Justin, Kate, William, Maria, Martha and Mavis – were re-homed.

Sally Firth, from Odiham, took in terrified Mavis, who would bark uncontrollably.

She said: ‘It’s been a slow process, but she has turned a corner. And I’m confident she will get there eventually, but I think it will take her another year or so.’

Figures also show 2,148 complaint investigations were carried out about dogs and 1,090 about cats.

The charity also issued advice and warning notices in the county, with 2,548 given, down from 2,589.

Dermot Murphy is assistant director at the inspectorate. He added: ‘It is encouraging that some of the figures are down on last year and that the numbers of complaints being dealt with by education and advice are going up, as we would always much rather improve animal welfare by giving advice to owners if at all possible.

‘Yet even if some of the overall numbers are lower, the level of depravity we have seen in 2015 cases are up there with some of the most extreme we have ever known.’