RSPCA called out to Leicestershire and Northamptonshire as cruelty cases spike on the charity's busiest day of the year

Dogs covered in sores, trapped pigeons and swans covered in oil were among the rescues
A pigeon trapped upside down was among animals rescuedA pigeon trapped upside down was among animals rescued
A pigeon trapped upside down was among animals rescued

Dogs covered in sores, trapped pigeons and swans covered in oil were among the rescues carried out across Leicestershire and Northamptonshire on the RSPCA’s busiest day of the year.

The charity says it has seen increasing numbers of calls to its cruelty line, with 206 reports of intentional harm against animals in Leicestershire made last year and 128 in Northamptonshire. Cases included beatings, animals killed in suspicious circumstances, multilations like ear croppings and poisonings.

And on July 18 the charity saw its busiest day of the year, which included call-outs locally.

The first came in at 11am and saw an inspector head to Leicester where a pigeon was hanging upside down from a roof after getting its foot stuck. Fire crews were called and the bird flew off unharmed.

The next call came in at 4pm with reports of a white terrier dog covered in sores and scratching constantly. The owner was advised the dog needed to see a vet as soon as possible and was checked by inspectors a week later.

At 5pm officers attended a report of two swans and three ducks covered in oil at a lake in Northamptonshire. The oil was believed to be petrol or diesel, which could have been deliberately dumped in the water. The animals were caught and taken to a wildlife hospital to be washed and treated for ingesting oil.

RSPCA spokesman Tom Buckley said: “We take more than a million calls a year but summer is our peak time - with mid July typically being when we receive more calls. The calls we receive are heart-breaking - our dedicated call takers never know what they will hear when they answer the call, but it can range from a report of animals being beaten, shot, abandoned or poisoned.

“Our call handlers know they can make a difference because, working together with frontline rescuers, they can help save lives and coordinate rescues of all types of animals.

“As we are so busy, we have information on our website which gives advice on if people can help the animal themselves if it is safe and possible to do so, or if the RSPCA isn’t the most appropriate organisation to call. This really helps free up our cruelty line and our frontline rescuers to focus on investigating the heartbreaking cruelty and neglect cases which flood in over summer.”

The charity has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign to fund responding to cruelty cases.

It receives some 91,500 calls every month, but throughout July and August cases rise to around 133,000 monthly.

The charity says it does not know why case numbers increase throughout summer, but believes it could be because people are outside due to the warmer weather so abuse is more visible.

A spokesman said: “While the teams see unimaginable cruelty on the frontline every single day, it’s not all doom and gloom and thanks to the calls to the cruelty line on this day so many animals were saved. Once they are rehabilitated in our care they will either be returned to the wild or will find the loving homes they deserve.”

Visit www.rspca.org.uk/canceloutcruelty to donate or find out more.