HUNDREDS of reports of animal cruelty across Cumbria have been made to the RSPCA.

Figures over the last three years have recorded over 300 incidents where an animal’s safety was threatened, provided to the RSPCA helplines. 

The RSPCA said it is a "sad reality" that the charity deals with animal cruelty on a daily basis.

RSPCA figures show there were 98 calls to its helpline for reporting intentional harm to an animal in Cumbria last year.

This showed an increase from 85 in 2020.

There were 164 calls over deliberate cruelty in 2019, meaning there have been a total of 347 in the last three years alone.

Intentional harm incidents involve attempted or improper killings, beatings, poisonings, mutilations and injuries or deaths in suspicious circumstances.

The figures come in the wake of the high-profile case of West Ham United footballer Kurt Zouma, who was prosecuted after a video of him kicking his cat went viral on social media.

In June, Zouma was sentenced to 180 hours of community service and was banned from owning a cat for five years after pleading guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The video was filmed by his brother Yoan Zouma, a former defender with Barrow AFC. He was ordered to carry out 140 hours of community service for his part in the crime.

Earlier this year, a Grange dog owner admitted to neglecting his bull terrier.

Paul Joseph Spinks admitted the charge of neglecting his dog Snoop by failing to give it an adequate supply of food in January.

READ MORE: Grange dog owner who neglected pet banned from keeping animals

Across England, 35,379 calls were made reporting intentional harm over the last three years.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA chief inspectorate officer, said: "It is a sad reality that we deal with animal cruelty every day here at the RSPCA.

"We are a nation of animal lovers but yet we received over 11,000 complaints of intentional harm through our helpline last year reporting animals from cats, dogs, hedgehogs and everything in between who have sadly been victims of deliberate cruelty.

"We need your help to keep our frontline officers out on the road saving animals and to help us raise awareness that this cruelty is never acceptable."

Mr Murphy also highlighted the rise in intentional harm calls during the summer months – nationally, more calls were taken between July and September than any other three-month period last year.

August was the busiest month for the RSPCA nationally, with 1,041 calls taken – an increase of 10% on the same month the year before.

READ MORE: Cat left with 'serious bite injury' after dog attack in Barrow park

But in 2021, June had the highest number of reports in Cumbria, while calls between July and September rose from 23 to 32 year-on-year.

The RSPCA is concerned that the rise in pet ownership during the coronavirus pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis could lead to a rise in animal cruelty incidents in the future.

The charity received more than 1 million calls reporting all types of cruelty in 2021, with more than 1,000 killings and almost 8,000 beatings reported.

Meanwhile, more than 38,000 animal abandonments were recorded last year.

"These figures are shocking and deeply upsetting and show why we need your help to save those animals who need us the most now more than ever," Mr Murphy said.