HUNDREDS of dogs have been abused in Cheshire.

The RSPCA has revealed that 858 reports were made to the charity about cruelty to dogs in Cheshire last year.

These figures include reports of intentional harm, neglect and abandonment.

Brett Witchalls, chief inspector for the county, 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."

The RSPCA released these figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign which seeks to raise funds to support the frontline rescue teams.

Of the 858 reports, 196 were labelled as intentional harm to dogs.

This involves attempted killing, poisoning, beating, improper killing, mutilation and suspicious circumstances.

Nationally, there were 42,690 reports of cruelty to dogs made in 2022, a seven per cent increase from 2021 (39,797).

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The cases of cruelty often rise in the summer, when the charity braces itself for its busiest time of the year.

Back in May, four dead dogs were found dumped on the side of a road in Sandbach.

The dogs, found in plastic bags, were estimated to be under six months old and looked to be rottweiler-type dogs.

RSPCA animal rescue officer Fay Bowers said: “We were very saddened to find out about these dogs’ deaths - and we’d like to thank the caller for letting us know. It must have been a very distressing find."

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Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, added: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing such sad figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.

“While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase, the cost of living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in has created an animal welfare crisis."