Animal cruelty cases on the rise in area, says RSPCA

The number of complaints of cruelty against animals in our area has increased over the last year, new figures show.

Wednesday, 25th April 2018, 6:00 am
Thomas John Hogarth.

The RSPCA says that 2,964 complaints were investigated in Tyne and Wear in 2017, up from 2,891 in 2016.

There were 2,803 complaints investigated in 2015.

Aileen Holmes.

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This year the charity is focusing on the plight of horses as animal rescuers and welfare charities struggle to cope with an ongoing “equine crisis”.

One shocking case which the Gazette reported on concerned Thomas John Hogarth, who admitted killing his partner’s cat.

Hogarth admitted to killing nine-year-old female tortoiseshell cat, called Sophie and who belonged to his then-partner Aileen Holmes, 66.

The incident happened at the home they shared at The Crescent, Jarrow, in August 23 last year.

Aileen Holmes.

A court heard Hogarth threw tortoise shell cat Sophie into a bin after launching the attack because she had “stared at him while doing her business on the carpet”.

Hogarth, 63, of Canterbury Way, Jarrow, was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with requirements of 30 days’ specified activity and 300 hours of unpaid work.

He was also disqualified from keeping animals for life and was told to pay £200 in compensation to Aileen Holmes, £150 costs and a £15 surcharge.

The RSPCA’s inspectorate national equine co-ordinator Christine McNeil said: “We’ve been talking about the horse crisis for several years now, but the truth is the situation is just as severe today as when it started.

“Last year we took in more horses than we have in any of the past four years (980), and with our inspectors being called to rescue more and more every week, we are stretched to the limits.

“Up and down the country, horses are being found sick, or dumped liked rubbish, dying or dead.

“Distressingly, this is common and it’s a huge issue.

“We are constantly receiving calls to our cruelty line - on average 80 per day about horses alone - as well as messages every day on social media from very concerned and upset people asking for our help.”

Anyone concerned about an animal’s welfare can report an incident to the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care go to