AN animal welfare helpline has seen a staggering 74 per cent increase in calls over the past three years.
Staff at the Scottish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) were contacted more than 500 times a day last year.
And bosses say the rise demonstrated the seriousness of cruelty to animals in the country and have pledged to continue to protect its frontline services.
Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “It’s impossible to say whether cruelty to animals is increasing because we know more people than ever before are aware of the Scottish SPCA and how we can help.
“But it is clear, both in terms of its level and nature, that cruelty to animals is a serious issue.”
Last year the animal helpline received more than 184,000 calls, a 26-per-cent increase over the previous year and 74 per cent more than three years ago, when the received around 290 calls a day.
Chief Supt Flynn, who also revealed that the charity’s rescue and rehoming centres are near breaking point, added: “Already this year we’ve had several disturbing cases, including a dog being found only half its ideal weight, a cat shot with a crossbow and a swan being dismembered.
“Last year our rescue and rehoming centres cared for a 12,600 abused, abandoned, injured and unwanted animals.”
For more call SSPCA on 03000 999 999 or visit the website at www.scottishspca.org