Increase in animal cruelty revealed in RSPCA annual report

Dudley after he regained weight
Dudley after he regained weight

An American bulldog in Littlehampton was ‘rescued and rehabilitated’ by the RSPCA after his owners ‘failed to feed him properly’, according to the animal charity in its annual report, out today.

The incident (detailed below) is among the case studies as the animal charity announces a 10% increase in allegations of animal cruelty in West Sussex - 1,733 to 1,912 incidents.

Our officers are under increased pressure having to respond to more calls and investigate more complaints

Paul Stilgoe, RSPCA Superintendent for the South East said: “I never stop feeling appalled when I look back at the shocking catalogue of cruelty the region’s inspectors are called about. We investigate such horrific cases of abuse and extreme neglect - as this year’s figures and case studies show

“Thankfully, there are also some happy endings to remind us what we strive for. As well as investigating the cruelty, our inspectors and animal centre staff rescue, rehabilitate and rehome thousands of animals a year, and this year there are some particularly touching stories in the region about the lives some of them have gone on to lead.”

The RSPCA’s leading inspector believes the surge in calls to Britain’s biggest animal welfare charity is down to the public becoming more aware and less tolerant of animal cruelty and neglect, rather than a sign that people are becoming more cruel.

Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: “I believe that the figures from last year show that we’re not becoming crueler, but that people are simply less willing to stand by and do nothing if they think an animal is suffering.

“People are increasingly likely to share images or footage on their social media accounts of animals they believe are not being cared for properly, while many will see material their friends have shared and then contact us about them.

“Either way, our officers are under increased pressure having to respond to more calls and investigate more complaints, but it is thanks to their dedication, as well as RSPCA staff and volunteers across England and Wales that we are able to transform the lives of tens of thousands of animals each year.”

CASE STUDY - report by the RSPCA

A sick and emaciated American bulldog who was nearly half his normal body weight was rescued and rehabilitated by the RSPCA after his owners failed to feed him properly.

Dudley weighed approximately 27kg when he was found by Inspector Rebecca Carter in July last year in Littlehampton.

He has campylobacter, an infection of the gut generally caused by poor hygiene and dirty living conditions.

His previous owners had bought Dudley through an online classified advert three months before the RSPCA were called.

Inspector Carter said: “They claimed he was already in a poor body condition and that they were feeding him large amounts of food, but he wasn’t gaining any weight. They claimed that they had contacted vets and rescue centres for help, but were unable to provide details of those organisations when asked.

“The campylobacter was treated with antibiotics and his weight problem was simply due to a lack of nutrition. He is now more than 40kg and has had no problems keeping it on.”

His previous owners received an adult written caution and Dudley was signed over to the RSPCA.

Seven-year-old Dudley is now at the RSPCA Mount Noddy Animal Centre, near Chichester, and is looking for a new forever home.

He is described as a big softie with lots of love to give, although he is quite timid around new people and especially men. However, the staff at the animal centre have helped Dudley make huge progress and he is becoming more confident every day.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Dudley can contact RSPCA Mount Noddy Animal Centre on 01243 773359 or by emailing