RSPCA Cymru releases figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign

They may be man’s best friend – but sadly cruelty towards dogs increased by 10% in Wales last year, new figures released by RSPCA Cymru reveal.

In 2022, there were 3,379reports made to the RSPCA in the area about cruelty to dogs, compared with 3,065in 2021.

The heartbreaking figures include reports made about intentional harm, neglect and abandonments.

Shockingly, there were 579reports of intentional harm to dogs in 2022, while there were 45abandonment reports,81 reports concerning illegal activity and 1,922 reports relating to neglect.

In 2022, across Wales, the most calls for dogs came in from Swansea (296), Rhondda Cynon Taff (294) and Cardiff (278) – with reports from each area increasing from 2021(please see stats below).

Across England and Wales, the number of reports made to the RSPCA about dogs – including intentional harm, neglect and abandonments – in 2022 was 42,690, a 7% increase from 2021 (39,797).

In summer months cases of cruelty rise and the charity is braced for its busiest time of the year.

The charity has released the heartbreaking figures as part of its Cancel Out Crueltycampaign, in a bid to raise funds to help its frontline rescue teams continue to save animals from cruelty and abuse.

Gemma Cooper, deputy chief inspector for West and Mid Wales, said: “For hundreds of years dogs have been known as man’s best friend – and if you share your home with one, you will know why, as they are such loyal and loving companions.

“But these awful statistics tell a different story. Dogs are the most abused animal in this country and we investigate more complaints about them than any other type of animal.

“Everyone who cares about animals will be sickened to know how many reports we receive about dogs being kicked, beaten, burned or worse. We need the public’s help to Cancel Out Cruelty. Their donations, no matter how small, help keep our frontline officers out on the road rescuing animals and investigating these terrible reports.”

Case study – North Wales


Back in November 2022 – a number of dogs and puppies were found in appropriate conditions in North Wales.

A Labrador was found in an emaciated state and two puppies who were found dead. In total 11 dogs and puppies were at the location – and were cared for appropriately.

When visiting the inspector said: “I could see an extremely skinny yellow Labrador type dog and white long haired German Shepherd type dog tethered to what I would describe as some sort of trailer.

“The dogs had no access to any suitable shelter, there was a sodden cushion on the ground near the German Shepherd and lots of empty dirty metal bowls. I could clearly see all of the ribs and hips on the Labrador, and could easily feel her spine, her teats were enlarged.”

In a caravan she found eight black and chocolate Labrador cross puppies who were “very small”.

She said: “Inside the caravan were lots of old cabinets resting up against the sides, empty boxes and it was very dirty – not the type of environment where puppies should be kept as there were lots of places the puppies could potentially become trapped and it was very unsanitary. I did not see any food or water bowls inside the caravan.”

The 13 animals were taken into RSPCA care with the Labrador and pups settling in well in foster homes. Following a prosecution case which was concluded last month new homes are being sought for the animals.

Case study – South Wales

In the summer of 2022 a dog was left without adequate water or shelter during hot weather in South Wales. Concerned members of the public called the police after she appeared to be in a slumped collapsed state. She was removed from the garden, instantly cooled and provided with water.

Despite these attempts at cooling and a journey in an air-conditioned police car to the vets, she was still measuring at 39.8 degrees on admission to the vets – which is close to fatal.

The owner was prosecuted by the RSPCA, and following the case the inspector said: “It is heartbreaking to think about what Crystal went through on that hot summer day – it was completely avoidable. Luckily she pulled through – but her temperature when she arrived at the vets was close to fatal – so it was very touch and go for a while.

“Thankfully she recovered fully and hopefully soon will have her forever home.”

The RSPCA is highlighting the figures as part of the charity’s Out Cruelty campaign – after latest figures showing the charity saw a 22% increase in reports of beatings in 2022 (9,658 in 2022, compared to 7,857 in 2021).

The figures released by the RSPCA also show that – across England and Wales:

  • In 2022 the charity saw a 22% increase in reports of beatings (9,658 in 2022, compared to 7,857 in 2021)
  • The number of beatings reported to the RSPCA in 2022 peaked in August, when 1,081 reports were received – a staggering 35 a day
  • The number of animals killed in ‘suspicious circumstances’ increased in 2022 by 15% from by 2021 (891 in 2022, compared to 775 in 2021)
  • 77% of all cruelty complaints reported to the charity 2022 were beatings

‘Animal cruelty happening on a massive scale’

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, said: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in Wales on a massive scale and rising. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing such sad figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.

“While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase, the cost of living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in has created an animal welfare crisis.

“Each year, these reports reach its terrible annual peak in the summer months – when an animal is 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.”

As the only charity in England and Wales investigating cruelty and rescuing animals, the RSPCA needs support to stay out on the frontline:

  • £2 could help to provide a meal for a cat or dog in our care
  • £6 could help pay to feed a dog for a day in our care
  • £10 could help pay towards bandages for a cat or dog
  • £15 could help pay for a cat or dog’s clinical exam
  • £20 could help pay towards a bird catching kit
  • £30 could help pay for a life jacket for an inspector
  • £100 could help pay towards water rescue equipment
  • £500 could kit out a 4×4 inspector van

The RSPCA’s frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but we can’t do it alone – we need your help to Cancel Out Cruelty. To help support the RSPCA, visit: