The RSPCA has revealed a significant increase in dogs being victims of cruelty since the start of the pandemic - and this is expected to increase in Cumbria with a spike in reports during the summer. 

New figures released as part of the animal welfare charity’s Cancel Out Cruelty campaign show that despite being man’s best friend there were 44,427 reports of dog cruelty made to the RSPCA involving 92,244 dogs last year.

That is 253 a day or more than 10 per hour - and includes 10,228 dogs reported as beaten. This shows a significant 16% increase since 2020 - when cruelty reports involving 79,513 dogs were made to the charity. 

In Cumbria there were 450 reports of dog cruelty during this period to the RSPCA. Of these 70 were classed as intentional harm.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Every year, we see many dogs coming into our care bearing the physical and mental scars that were inflicted at the hands of the very people who were meant to keep them safe and love them unconditionally."

With more people becoming dog owners during lockdown the charity is concerned the number of cruelty incidents involving canines will increase - particularly in the summer when it traditionally sees a surge in calls to its cruelty line. 

There are now an estimated 13 million dog owners in the UK,  according to the Pet Food Manufacturing report, up from 12.5 million the year before (2021) and from 9 million in 2020 - with lockdown causing an unprecedented surge in demand. 

The RSPCA receives around 90,000 calls to its cruelty line every month involving all animals but in the summer (July and August) calls rise to 134,000 a month and reports of cruelty soar to 7,600 each month - a heartbreaking 245 every day.

The charity is also worried more dogs will fall victim to abuse and abandonments as the cost of living crisis takes hold adding financial pressures to pet owners.