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Hampshire named 'cruelty hotspot' by RSPCA as charity launches Cancel Out Cruelty campaign

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HAMPSHIRE has been identified as a national “hotspot” for animal cruelty, according to figures released by the RSPCA.

The county is 10th in a list of 10 regions that have seen the highest number of cases of intentional harm, with 2,442 incidences between 2016 and 2020.

The highest is Greater London with 8,565.

Animal cruelty is expected to rise sharply in July
Animal cruelty is expected to rise sharply in July

Last July 1,532 incidents were reported to the RSPCA’s emergency helpline nationally, and the charity is expecting a similar spike this month.

The figures were released as part of its new campaign, Cancel Out Cruelty, which aims to raise funds and awareness and encourage volunteers to come forward.

Beatings, knife crime, drowning and intentional killing are just some of the horrific incidents officers deal with every day.

Dermot Murphy, head of RSPCA animal rescue teams, said: “We always sadly see a rise in cruelty during the summer months.

“As well as more people being out and about in the longer sunny days, seeing and reporting abuse, we feel there are a number of factors which contribute to this rise.

“Unfortunately, the hot summer days can lead to more people drinking alcohol, which can be a factor in causing violence.

“There could also be boredom during the long holidays and more pressures at home – when the whole family is on holiday from school and work, existing difficulties in the home can be magnified.

“Police forces reported a rise in domestic violence last year during lockdown and we are concerned that similar pressures which led to this rise may also have impacted on more cruelty to animals behind closed doors during the pandemic.”

Mr Murphy said the past year had seen a “huge rise” in pet ownership, which was also a cause for concern.

“We know most people would not dream of harming an animal,” he said.

“But we are concerned that, as we come out of lockdown and people return to their jobs outside the home or suffer financial pressures, we will see more animals suffer if their owners find themselves unable to cope.”

To donate or volunteer, visit www.rspca.org.uk/stopcruelty

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