The number of “utterly unnacceptable” animal cruelty complaints being investigated in Norfolk and Suffolk has seen an increase over the past year, RSPCA figures have revealed.
Cruelty complaints in Norfolk rose from Norfolk 2,774 in 2013 to 2,957 last year, while in Suffolk 2,031 complaints were reported to the charity in 2014, a rise of 39.
Nationally, the RSPCA investigated 159,831 complaints in 2014, compared to 153,770 in 2013.
Paul Stilgoe, RSPCA superintendent for the south east, said: “Once again we have been shocked by just how vicious people can be to animals.
“Many of the complaints we receive involve animals being neglected or not receiving the right care and often we can put that right by offering welfare advice.
“However, it is utterly unacceptable that in 2014 people are still being deliberately cruel in what can be disturbingly inventive ways.”
One such case includes a young dying horse that was found propped up against a car tyre in Eye in February 2013.
Whiskey, an 18 month-old piebald colt, was just yards from his house when he was found by an RSPCA inspector. He had been left lying in an open field before being dragged behind a tractor to a shelter with a concrete floor and inadequate bedding, where he was propped up by the tyre.
He was emaciated, weak, could not get up, covered in his own filth, and was suffering from a severe infestation of worms.
A vet said he had been suffering from chronic malnutrition for some time, and that his suffering was so bad that the kindest thing to do was put him to sleep to end his suffering.
A 72-year-old man pleaded guilty in January last year to causing unnecessary suffering; failing to address the cause of Whiskey’s weight loss and poor body condition, and of failing to provide adequate treatment for his worm infection.
He was disqualified from keeping animals for life, and jailed for 23 weeks.
RSPCA chief veterinary officer James Yeates added: “Our aim is always to prevent cruelty so it’s really positive that a greater number of people followed our advice.
“Crucially this means that although we are still receiving complaints about cruelty we are often getting to incidents before suffering has occurred and helping owners to provide for their animals, whether that means getting veterinary care for them or just giving them the right diet.
“Sadly, though, where cruelty is still happening there will be a need to prosecute in the most serious cases and it is upsetting that so many people are still mistreating animals by deliberately causing them harm or by not providing them with the care they deserve.”
For more information on the RSPCA, visit