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WALES: Abandoned and abused; Strangled, neglected, dumped... the dogs paying the price as cruelty cases soar.

Byline: By KELLY FENNA

THESE plucky pooches are among scores desperately in need of new homes after being abandoned by their owners.

But they are the lucky ones - rocketing numbers of animals are being strangled, bludgeoned and neglected, shocking figures released last night show.

The latest RSPCA report reveals 49 animal cruelty cases have been brought across North Wales in a 12 month period - 44 in the north-east of Wales and five in Gwynedd.

The worrying trend is growing year-onyear, RSPCA officers warn.

In North Wales, cruelty cases are most common across Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire, and parts of Conwy and Powys.

In Gwynedd a decline has been recorded, although the county was recently dubbed a "hotspot" by the RSPB for having the highest number of crimes against wild birds in Wales.

Overall, convictions in Wales have leaped by more than a third.

Wales-wide there has been a 34% increase in convictions for crimes against dogs and a 15% increase for cats.

Romaine de Kerckhove, acting superintendent for RSPCA Wales said: "These animals are the helpless victims of a cruel society.

"Some are bought for profit and discarded when the novelty wears off whereas others are the victims of heartless individuals.

"Worse still, some animals are violently abused because they don't meet their owners' unrealistic expectations."

Among the offences last year was the case of a cat tied up by sadistic yobs in Holyhead to be savaged by dogs.

In Colwyn Bay, vengeful Diane Hannon, 42, of Berth-y-Glyd, Old Colwyn, was spared jail after killing her boyfriend's cat by putting him in the washing machine.

Officials have also recorded a 13% surge in the number of neglected horses.

Last month, "horse hoarder" Margaret O'Leary, 72, of Llangollen, was sentenced after admitting causing unnecessary suffering. One of her animals was found dead and others emaciated and "massively infested" with parasites.

But rescue workers say there have also been success stories where animals have been taken in and sent to loving homes.

Changes to the Animal Welfare Act mean officers can move in sooner and remove neglected pets from their owners.

More people have also been slapped with banning orders.

Some of the horrors from elsewhere across Wales include 18 Great Dane puppies bred in squalor in Powys.

In Cardiff a Rottweiler was found with a deep neckwound afterwearing a collar that was too tight.

And in Bridgend, a Harris Hawk was bludgeoned to death because it strayed into a nearby allotment.

Awoman in Treharris used scissors to dock the tails of eight puppies.

In Knighton the smallest Great Dane ever recorded survived after being found on the brink of death.

CRUEL FACTS

RSPCA national figures for

Wales and England 2007...

34% increase in convictions for cruelty to dogs (1,197)

15% increase in convictions for cruelty to cats (277)

12% increase in RSPCA cruelty investigations (137,245)

26% increase in banning orders issued by courts (861)

GIVE A DOG A HOME If you can give any animal at Bryn y Maen a home, call 03 00 123 0745 now

kelly.fenna@dailypost.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Border collie Garn and Dave the Staffordshire bull terrier with Sharon Wood and John Bunson at Bryn y Maen - both dogs need new homes after being abandoned by their owners Picture: ROBERT PARRY JONES
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 30, 2008
Words:548
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