The cruellest months: RSPCA cruelty reports spike in summer

Abandoned Puggle puppy cruelty

New figures released by the RSPCA show a spike in cruelty reports during the summer months – with a Greater London dubbed “the most cruel county in England and Wales”.

“The RSPCA receives around 90,000 calls to its cruelty line every month and investigates 6,000 reports of deliberate animal cruelty, including animal fighting and hunting,” the charity states. “But in the summer, calls rise to 134,000 a month – three every minute – and reports of cruelty soar to 7,600 each month, a heartbreaking 245 every day.”

“Overall, the number of reports made to the charity’s cruelty line about animals being inflicted with intentional harm – including beatings, mutilations such as ear cropping, poisonings and even killings, has increased by 7.9% from summer 2020 to summer 2021 with more than 2,300 reports in June and July alone.”

Abandoned Poodle-cross puppies

In Greater London, there were 1,031 reports of intentional harm against animals made to the RSPCA last year; this led the charity to dubbing it the “most cruel county” in England and Wales. The RSPCA received 1,081,018 calls to its Cruelty Line in 2021 and these included reports of:

  • 1,094 killings or nearly three animals killed a day
  • 632 mutilations or 12 animals brutally mutilated every week
  • 7,857 beatings which equates to one animal beaten every hour
  • 38,087 abandonments which equates to more than 100 animals abandoned every day

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer at the RSPCA, said, “We are a nation of animal lovers and no one wants to think of an animal being cruelly treated but sadly the reality is that every day animals are victims of deliberate cruelty.”

Abandoned Beagle puppy

He added, “There are many factors which could explain why we see a rise in cruelty during the summer months. The longer sunny days could mean people are out and about more and likely to see and report abuse.

“Hot summer days can also lead to more people drinking alcohol in the sun which in turn can be a factor causing violence. Perhaps there is boredom or pressures at home with children being off school which can make existing difficulties magnified.

“And this year, we are also concerned that the recent rise in pet ownership coupled with the cost of living crisis could see people really struggling to care for their pets which may lead them to lash out or could see more animals than ever being abandoned or given up.”


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