Dogs are Derbyshire's most persecuted animal

Pictured is a neglected dog found at Jade Lawman's former home at Hipley Close, Chesterfield, by the RSPCA. She was banned from keeping animals for life at Chesterfield magistrates' court last month.

Pictured is a neglected dog found at Jade Lawman's former home at Hipley Close, Chesterfield, by the RSPCA. She was banned from keeping animals for life at Chesterfield magistrates' court last month.

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Dogs are the most cruelly treated animals in Derbyshire, according to the RSPCA.

Shock figures show the charity investigated 1,813 complaints of persecution against 'man's best friend' in 2015.

Dermot Murphy, assistant director for the inspectorate at the RSPCA, said: “People think of dogs as man’s best friend but these statistics tell a different story. They are by far the most abused animal and we investigate more complaints related to them than any other species."

In total, the RSPCA probed 3,170 complaints of animal cruelty in Derbyshire during 2015 - down from 3,636 the previous year.

The RSPCA secured 44 convictions in the county last year.

Mr Murphy added: "It is encouraging that some of the figures are down on last year and that the numbers of complaints being dealt with by education and advice are going up. We would always much rather improve animal welfare by giving advice to owners if at all possible.

"Yet even if some of the overall numbers are lower, the level of depravity we have seen in 2015 cases are up there with some of the most extreme we have ever known."

Nationally, 57 per cent of complaints investigated by the RSPCA in 2015 were about dogs compared to just below 24 per cent about cats - the second most abused pet.

In one shocking case in Kent, a Chihuahua was stolen, set on fire and punched and attacked until his neck broke.

He was then dumped at a rubbish tip to die - but miraculously survived.

The RSPCA, which receives a call for help approximately every 30 seconds, is the oldest and largest animal welfare organisation in the world.

Call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 to report cruelty or an animal in distress.

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