Everyday heroes protecting animals from abuse - RSPCA report increasing threats to animals and staff

The animal welfare charity rescues thousands of animals a year from abusive situations - many of these animals have been subjected to horrific injuries from the use of weapons such as metal bars, knives, guns and crossbows.

Tuesday, 5th November 2013, 11:06 am

For example, RSPCA figures reveal that air rifle injuries on animals had leapt up by almost 40 per cent to almost 800 attacks reported to the charity in 2012. The horrific attacks include several cats shot in the face and whose eyes had to be removed and others who did not survive after being shot.

While RSPCA inspectors are highly trained to cope with dangerous situations, official records from the RSPCA also showed these weapons and other threats of violence can sometimes be turned on the charity’s staff - with three out of four inspectors suffering some sort of abuse every year while doing their job. In 2012 alone, inspectors were assaulted or threatened 246 times.

TV presenter and wildlife expert Chris Packham said: “I take my hat off to RSPCA Inspectors, I wouldn’t want to go into the situations they do and deal with people who have inflicted such barbaric cruelty on defenceless animals - that takes real courage and professionalism.

“Sadly dealing with the most stomach-churning suffering is every day work to these men and women. I dread to think what would happen if they weren’t there to help.

“These Everyday Heroes can only help thanks to donations from the public so please give what you can.”

New information released today highlights the shocking fact that animal charity workers can be subjected to physical and verbal abuse while trying to rescue animals from cruelty, neglect and suffering

Today the charity has released just some examples of the dangers faced by RSPCA inspectors over the last 24 months, including staff threatened with:

• A claw hammer

• A knife

• A crossbow

• A shotgun

• A machete

• Assault

• Death threats

This is hardly surprising, considering the kind of abuse the animals we are trying to protect have to endure. This includes cases such as:

• A dog beaten with a pole, leaving it with 30 fractures

• A swan shot with a cross bow

• A cat beaten against tree

• A three- week old lamb with its ears cut off

• A lurcher stamped on, run over and stabbed with a potato peeler

• A bird shot with blowgun dart straight through his eye

• A mouse tortured with power tool

RSPCA inspector Susan Haywood was assaulted last year. She said, “The bottom line is that the call comes in and your only thought is that there is an animal needing my help and you don’t even think about what could happen to you and whether there could be violence directed at you.”

“There was no way these animals can help themselves – that’s why our job is so important because we can get animals the help they so desperately need.”

That is why the charity is launching a brand new appeal today called “Everyday Heroes” which aims to highlight the unimaginable dangers facing many animals and help support the brave charity workers who try to protect them.

Actor and RSPCA Vice President Brian Blessed added: “We are all revolted by reports of dogs being stabbed, swans being shot and cats being strangled, but we never stop to think about the brave inspectors who pluck these animals out of such dangerous situations.

“It’s shocking that these men and women face threats and violence as they rescue the most neglected and abused animals but without them there would be no RSPCA. They truly are Everyday Heroes.

“I urge all animal lovers to be heroes too and support these brave inspectors and the vital work they do.”

For more information on the appeal and how you can help, please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/animalhero. You can also get involved via social media (#AnimalHero)

The charity can only help thanks to donations from the public, so please give what you can. To help the RSPCA carry out this vital work like this text HERO to 78866 to give £3 (texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.