THERE has been an increase in the number of reports of animal beatings in Hampshire last year, new data from the RSPCA revealed.

The shocking figures show an increase in the number of reports of animals suffering physical cruelty across England and Wales.

Numbers from the animal welfare charity indicate 373 incidents of animal beatings were recorded in Hampshire last year. This is up from 282 in 2021 and means recorded animal beatings rose by 32 per cent. 

Across England and Wales, the RSPCA recorded 22 per cent more violent incidents in 2022 than the previous year, with the charity receiving 9,700 reports or the equivalent of 26 per day.

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It has since said the figures are "heartbreaking" and suggested the end of the coronavirus pandemic and the soaring cost of living as possible factors.

Dermot Murphy, inspectorate commissioner at the RSPCA, said: "Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing such sad figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.

"While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase in reports of cruelty, the cost-of-living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in have created an animal welfare crisis with more people getting pets with potentially less time and money to care for them.

"The cost-of-living crisis also means the cost of rescuing animals is at an all-time high and our vital services are stretched to the limit."

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The number of beatings peaked in August at 1,100, while 77 per cent of all complaints related to physical abuse.

More animals were also killed in suspicious circumstances, with 891 reports in 2022, up 15 per cent from 775 the year before.

A starving poodle with an infected jaw which was so rotten he was unable to eat was discovered dumped in Hampshire in August 2022.

A kind-hearted member of the public found the distressed dog on August 25 off South East Road in Sholing near Southampton before rushing him to a vet - who in turn contacted the RSPCA.

RSPCA Animal collection officer Justine Hermon said: “He was in a horrendous state when he was rescued. The pictures don't do justice to the awful condition of this poor dog and the amount of pain and suffering he has been in for so long. The veterinary team did an amazing job and were able to save his life.”

Mr Murphy added: "Together, we believe we can and will cancel out cruelty to animals by replacing violence with kindness.

"We are urging people to donate to our Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, every donation will help animals."

Read more about the campaign at