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‘Animal cruelty still a problem’ despite fall in convictions

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 17, 2014

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A ‘CULTURE of cruelty’ has not disappeared, the RSPCA has said, despite a drop in convictions in the region last year.

The organisation said it was ‘heartened’ by the fall in animal neglect and cruelty cases in Staffordshire and Derbyshire in 2013, but insisted there were still many animals which needed its help.

During the 12-month period, there were 14 convictions across Staffordshire, down three from 2012.

In Derbyshire, there was almost double the number sentenced for acts of cruelty to animals.

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A total of 27 people were convicted in the county but that was also down from 35 the previous year.

While the total number of convictions may have dropped in the two counties, the RSPCA said high-profile cases in Burton during the first half of 2014 showed the problem was not going away.

David Bowles, head of external affairs at the RSPCA, said: “While 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.”

In May, animal rescue centre boss Lindsay Newell, from Stapenhill, was found guilty of six counts of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and cleared of 25 further charges.

The case, which made national headlines, ended 18 months after animals were found suffering following a raid at the Burton Wildlife and Animal Rescue Centre in Etwall.

She was also banned from keeping sheep, goats, pigs, and any kind of equine animal for five years.

Newell’s sentencing came just a month after mother-of-two Kristina Dyche, from Stapenhill, was jailed for 12 weeks after her pet labrador was found ‘days away from dying’.

While warning against complacency, Mr Bowles reflected on another productive year for the organisation during 2013.

Mr Bowles added: “I think we should be very proud that, despite taking in some very damaged animals, we rehomed an incredible 55,323 animals in 2013.”

The figures showed that dogs were the animal most likely to be involved in cruelty cases, with 2,505 related convictions nationally.

The RSPCA rescued 17,500 dogs across the UK during 2013.

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