County has the fewest cruelty cases in region

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SUFFOLK has recorded the lowest number of animal cruelty cases in the East of England.

Eighteen defendants were reported in the county last year with 10 convicted, according to figures released by the RSPCA.

The highest in the region were Lincolnshire, with 69 defendants reported and 30 convictions, as well as Nottinghamshire with 62 reported and 32 convicted.

Meanwhile, Norfolk saw 52 defendants reported and 22 convicted.

Nationally, the number of people convicted of cruelty and neglect to animals rose by nearly a quarter last year.

RSPCA bosses say the low figures for Suffolk are a result of a lack of cities.

Craig Plumley, chief inspector for Suffolk and Norfolk, said: “Cities seem to be a big catchment area for a lot of our cruelty cases.

“I also think Suffolk possibly has a better community spirit with small towns and villages.”

He said one of the most prevelant issues seen in the county is the abandonment of animals.

Mr Plumley explained: “We did prosecute someone who let their dog go and walked away hoping someone else would deal with it.

“We had five rabbits abandoned in boxes in Elmswell recently.”

He said that people needed to think seriously about buying an animal in the present economic climate with the potential for ‘expensive veterinary bills’.

Mr Plumley said part of the abandonment problem was a lack of rehoming resulting in a shortage of spaces for people to drop unwanted animals off. “Hence they just get frustrated and are often leaving the animals in a box somewhere.”

The charity’s major fund-raising push, RSPCA Week, runs from Monday to May 6. To get involved visit www.rspcaweek.org

A weekend of online interactive activity on social media channels Facebook and Twitter will also be held this weekend.