Eight animal cruelty cases reported every week in Mid Ulster

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The Mid Ulster Council area has averaged approximately one complaint of animal cruelty every day.

The shocking figures show that local animal welfare officers have investigated 578 complaints of cruelty to animals since April 2015.

The complaints, which range from April 2015 to October 2016, led to 658 inspection visits, according to figures released by Mid Ulster council at the last monthly meeting of the Environmental Committee.

However, the number of Improvement Notices served was just nine.

Dogs and cats were the most frequent animals cited in reports across Northern Ireland, making up more than a third of instances.

Those figures included animals being attacked with pellet guns, crossbows and other weapons.

Over the past four years, councils in Northern Ireland have received over 26,644 animal welfare calls, carried out over 34,369 inspections and served over 911 Improvement Notices.

They have also successfully prosecuted 80 animal welfare cases, and there are a substantial number (96) of other cases being considered for potential prosecution.

The Animal Welfare review recommended the introduction of tougher sentencing for the more serious Animal Welfare offences, which was implemented last August. This allows tougher sentencing for the more serious Animal Welfare offences taken by Councils, amending the mode of trial for certain offences and extending the post-conviction powers available to courts.

The new powers come on top of proposals drafted by former Justice Minister David Ford, to increase the maximum penalties in animal cruelty cases.

Animals that have featured highly in police reports since 2011 as suffering cruelty include 660 horses and donkeys, and 331 birds. If you suspect that an animal may be suffering from neglect, contact the Animal Welfare officer at Mid Ulster Council.