They may be man’s best friend – but there were 604 reports made to the RSPCA about cruelty towards dogs in Surrey last year, new figures released by the charity show.

The “heartbreaking” figures lay bare the scale of animal cruelty in the county, and include reports made about intentional harm, neglect and abandonments.

The type of incidents which come under intentional harm are attempted killing, poisoning, beating, improper killing, mutilation and suspicious circumstances.

There were 117 reports of intentional harm to dogs in Surrey in 2022 – contributing to a national rise in such incidents.

Across England, the number of reports made to the RSPCA about dogs – including intentional harm, neglect and abandonments – in 2022 was 42,690, a seven per cent increase from 2021 (39,797).

The charity released the figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, in a bid to raise funds to help its frontline rescue teams continue to save animals from cruelty and abuse.

Dog beaten so badly vet staff thought he had died

Whippet Terry was left with life-threatening injuries when he was beaten for urinating indoors.

He was rushed to an animal hospital by a member of the public. Staff thought the pet, wrapped in a blanket, had already died – but then they spotted shallow breathing and rushed into action.

He had bruising to the white of his left eye and his upper and lower lips. Three of his upper incisors were missing and another tooth was broken.

Vet nurse Rachel Coombes was so upset about the state of his suffering that she said: “If he survives this I will adopt him.”

Terry was placed in an oxygen tent to help his breathing and was also put on a special heat mat as he was in a hypothermic state. 

He was then put on an intravenous drip and the emergency veterinary treatment continued until his vital organs had normalised and he regained consciousness.

An x-ray revealed Terry did not have a fractured skull, but his injuries were consistent with being hit and the RSPCA were called to investigate. Inspector Laura Barber traced the owner of the pup and police were able to place him in the care of the RSPCA.

Terry returned to full health and was happily adopted by Rachel.

Terry the whippet before and after receiving care from an animal hospital
Terry the whippet before and after receiving care from an animal hospital (RSPCA)

Rob Jackson, RSPCA chief inspector for Surrey, said: “For hundreds of years dogs have been known as man’s best friend – and if you share your home with one, you will know why, as they are such loyal and loving companions.

“But these awful statistics tell a different story. Dogs are the most abused animal in this country and we investigate more complaints about them than any other type of animal.

“Everyone who cares about animals will be sickened to know how many reports we receive about dogs being kicked, beaten, burned or worse.

“We need the public’s help to Cancel Out Cruelty. Their donations, no matter how small, help keep our frontline officers out on the road rescuing animals and investigating these terrible reports.”

The figures released by the RSPCA also shows:

  • In 2022 the charity saw a 22 per cent increase in reports of beatings (9,658 in 2022, compared to 7,857 in 2021).
  • The number of beatings reported to the RSPCA in 2022 peaked in August, the charity’s busiest time of the year, when 1,081 reports were received – a staggering 35 a day.
  • The number of animals killed in ‘suspicious circumstances’ increased in 2022 by 15 per cent from by 2021 (891 in 2022, compared to 775 in 2021).
  • 77 per cent of all cruelty complaints reported to the charity 2022 were beatings.

As the only charity in England and Wales investigating cruelty and rescuing animals, the RSPCA needs support to stay out on the frontline:

  • £2 could help to provide a meal for a cat or dog in care.
  • £6 could help pay to feed a dog for a day in care.
  • £10 could help pay towards bandages for a cat or dog.
  • £15 could help pay for a cat or dog’s clinical exam.
  • £20 could help pay towards a bird-catching kit.
  • £30 could help pay for a life jacket for an inspector.
  • £100 could help pay towards water rescue equipment.
  • £500 could kit out a 4x4 inspector van.

The RSPCA’s frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but need help to Cancel Out Cruelty. To help support the RSPCA, visit