AN ANIMAL welfare charity has warned more dogs will be victims of abuse and abandonment due to the cost of living crisis.

In Oxfordshire, there were 344 reports of dog cruelty made to the RSPCA last year, 68 of which were classed as intentional harm.

The RSPCA receives approximately 90,000 calls to its cruelty line every month, but in the summer, calls rise to 134,000 a month, and reports of cruelty soar to 7,600 across the country.

The charity’s ‘Cancel Out Cruelty’ campaign aims to raise funds to support its rescue teams.

READ ALSO: Animal welfare charity braced for ‘summer of suffering’ in Oxfordshire

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Every year, we see many dogs coming into our care bearing the physical and mental scars that were inflicted at the hands of the very people who were meant to keep them safe and love them unconditionally.

“We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers and dogs are ‘man’s best friend’ as the saying goes but in reality we receive many cruelty reports every day about dogs who have suffered the most unimaginable cruelty and a 16 per cent increase of dogs being cruelly treated in a year is really concerning.

“Our officers have dealt with all sorts of horrific incidents including dogs repeatedly beaten, stabbed, burned, drowned, poisoned – some have been left to die from starvation.

“With the public’s help in reporting cruelty they have been able to save many dogs from ongoing abuse.

“Sadly though in some cases others have died at the hands of their tormentors and it is then our job to try and bring some justice for the victim.

Oxford Mail: Chance was found dumped in a bush by a dog walker in Liverpool. Picture: RSPCAChance was found dumped in a bush by a dog walker in Liverpool. Picture: RSPCA

Oxford Mail: Chance after being taken in by the RSPCA. Picture provided by the charityChance after being taken in by the RSPCA. Picture provided by the charity

“During the summer we see a rise in cruelty and this year as we have seen such a massive increase in dog ownership since lockdown we are bracing ourselves for even more reports.

“We believe there are a number of factors which mean summer is our busiest time. Perhaps there is boredom or pressures at home with children being off school which can make existing difficulties magnified.

“This year the cost of living crisis has added a further dimension and we believe we could see people really struggling to care for their pets which may lead them to lash out or could see more animals than ever being abandoned or given up.

“All these factors mean that we need the public’s support more than ever to help Cancel Out Cruelty.

“As a charity, we are bracing to tackle a summer of suffering but we cannot do this without your help and we rely on public support to carry on our rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming work.”

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

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