THERE has been a big rise in reports of animal cruelty across Wales, latest figures from the RSPCA show.

The animal charity released its annual report for 2013 today, highlighting some of the worst cases of cruelty and neglect that officers have faced in the past year.

Latest figures show a 14 per cent rise in cases reported (199 cases in 2013), a 10 per cent rise in the number of people reported (318 people), a 49 per cent rise in the number of offenders cautioned (91, from 61 in 2012), and a 20 per cent rise in the number of convictions in Wales (297 in 2013).

The number of animals rescued or collected by the RSPCA in Wales increased by 123 per cent, from 8,847 in 2012 to 19,709 in 2013, and there was a 100 per cent success rate for RSPCA prosecutions in Wales last year (up from 97.8 per cent in 2012).

In December, a Territorial Army soldier who left his pet ferret in a Newport wardrobe while he went on manoeuvres was banned from keeping animals for three years.

Daniel Jones, 22, of Devon Place, left his ferret for two weeks while he was away without making provision for the animal’s care.

Jones was charged with failing to meet the welfare needs of the 10-week-old ferret when he went away on June 28, 2013.

The animal was discovered when Jones’ landlord heard a scratching and whining coming from the room that he rented on New Street in Cwmbran.

In another case, a cat which had open sores, red skin and scabbing when rescued in Pontypridd was rehomed out of Newport’s Animal Centre, the RSPCA said.

“A vet commented he had never seen so many fleas on a cat of that size before,” an RSPCA spokesman said.

RSPCA Cymru’s Steve Carter, said: “The RSPCA is leading the fight against a growing animal cruelty crisis.

“Prevention of cruelty is key and that is why we have to try to work with people wherever possible to educate them and help improve the lives of animals – a fact that is reflected in the 49 per cent rise in the number of offenders cautioned.

“But where there is evidence of a crime and serious animal abuse, we will take legal action to protect the animals. We also want to see courts taking these offences far more seriously.”

Read the full report at nualreport.