RSPCA investigated nearly 1,000 cases of animal cruelty in Northumberland in 2017

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Animal cruelty complaints investigated in the North of England were amongst the highest in the country with Northumberland seeing almost 1,000 cases investigated by the RSPCA in 2017.

The data released today comes as part of the RSPCA’s North Cruelty statistics 2018 and revealed 832 complaints were investigated in Northumberland by the RSPCA in 2017.

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Whilst 141,760 complaints about animal welfare were investigated nationally by the animal welfare charity in 2017, in the north of England (including County Durham, Cumbria, East Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and West Yorkshire) a total of 41,023 complaints were looked into.

Amongst those neglected and abused were two dogs (Rufus and Buddy) who were found starving and living in filthy conditions in an abandoned house in Northumberland on 14 January last year.

Inspector Keogh-Laws said: “They nearly starved to death. When I got there I found Rufus lying in a duvet on a sofa - his closed eyes were sunken. He wasn’t moving so initially I actually thought he was dead. I could feel every bone in his body and he was too weak to even lift his head. Buddy was sitting on another sofa and was reluctant to stand.”

Buddy (formerly Bud) and Rufus (formerly Taz) with RSPCA inspector Kirsty Keogh-Laws (Photo: Susan Worsfold RSPCA)

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The dogs were surrounded by rubbish, glass and other hazards. There was a strong smell of urine and faeces covered the floor from one side of the room to the other.

Their owner pleaded guilty to one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs and three offences of failing to meet their needs under the Animal Welfare Act.

At a hearing at Northumberland Magistrates’ Court in September the owner was disqualified from keeping all animals for five years; given a 12-month community order with a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement; ordered to undertake 60 hours unpaid work and to pay £100 in costs together with an £85 victim surcharge.

Since being rescued Rufus and Buddy have found a new home together in Tyne and Wear.

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Inspector Keogh-Laws added: “You’ve only got to look at the after pictures of them to see how happy they are.

“They’ve got the kind of lives all dogs should have now. They have gone from the worst of lives to the best of lives, they are living the dream.”

If you are concerned about an animal’s welfare, you can report it to the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.