Reported incidents of animal cruelty across Somerset have soared in a single year.

New data from the RSPCA reveals that reports of animal cruelty increased 40 per cent year on year. There were 220 reports in Somerset last year, compared to just 157 in 2021.

It comes amid a nation-wide rise in intentional harm against animals which saw reports of killings, poisonings and ear cropping of animals on the increase.

The RSPCA are now launching their Cancel Out Cruelty campaign which aims to raise funds for frontline rescue teams.

Jenny Ride, RSPCA chief inspector for Somerset, said: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising - and sadly the number of cruelty incidents in Somerset are also too high. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing 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 has created an animal welfare crisis with more people getting pets with potentially less time and money to care for them. 

“Each year, these reports of cruelty reach its terrible annual peak in the summer months – when  nationally we receive a report of an animal being beaten on average every hour of every day. 

“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.

"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.”