There has been a rise of nearly 5 percent in animal cruelty cases investigated in comparison to the previous 12 months, claims the RSPCA.
The RSPCA investigated more than 400 allegations every day last year.
Calls to the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty hotline also rose by nearly 4 percent, which amounted to more than 1.15million calls last year – averaging one every 27 seconds.
The RSPCA’s leading inspector believes the surge in calls to Britain’s biggest animal welfare charity is down to the public seeing more animal cruelty through images and films being shared on social media.
A total of 149,604 complaints of animal abuse were investigated by the RSPCA last year.
Dermot Murphy, assistant director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: “It never fails to shock me when I look back on the extreme instances of animal cruelty the RSPCA has been called upon to investigate.
“It continues to outrage and sadden me that people can be capable of such deliberate brutality towards animals, but equally it drives me on to ensure that perpetrators of animal cruelty are put before the courts.
“I believe that the figures from last year show that we’re not becoming crueler, but that people are simply less willing to stand by and do nothing if they think an animal is suffering.
“People are increasingly likely to share images or footage on their social media accounts of animals they believe are not being cared for properly, while many will see material their friends have shared and then contact us about them.
“Either way, our officers are under increased pressure having to respond to more calls and investigate more complaints, but it is thanks to their dedication, as well as RSPCA staff and volunteers across England and Wales that we are able to transform the lives of tens of thousands of animals each year.”
The majority of complaints received by the RSPCA in 2016 continued to be about the welfare of dogs (84,994), followed by cats (36,156) and equines (19,530).
The highest number of complaints investigated were in Greater London (11,812), West Yorkshire (7,920) and Greater Manchester (7,708). The most people convicted of animal cruelty offences were from West Yorkshire (94), followed by North Yorkshire (50) and the West Midlands (49).