MORE than 500 cases of animal cruelty were reported to the RSPCA from Southampton in 2016.

The figures have been released on the ten-year anniversary of the Animal Welfare Act, and the 193rd birthday of the RSPCA yesterday as part of RSPCA week.

Since the act came in to force in 2007, the RSPCA has received more than 4,000 complaints across Hampshire for animal cruelty.

591 complaints between 2007 and this year came from Southampton. Nationally, the charity says it has helped 3.6 million animals in the last ten years.

As part of this, Fareham’s Stubbington Ark takes in more than 6,000 animals annually, rehoming cats and dogs as well as rehabilitating the

wildlife casualties they take on.

RSPCA chief inspector Paul Williams, based at Stubbington Ark, said: “Our staff do an amazing job.

“Whether it’s inspectors on the frontline, helping poorly animals through our clinics, fundraising, or finding homes for those animals who have often been through the most appalling neglect and abuse.

“All of this is possible thanks to the hard work of volunteers and generous donations from local people.”

The 4,000 cases of animal cruelty in Hampshire came as part of the 150,000 complaints received by the charity across England and Wales.

Paul added: “I want to take the opportunity to thank everybody.

“The 150,000 complaints of cruelty last year shows there is still a real need for the work we do.”

Across Hampshire and the South West, the RSPCA said that the figures, totalling 27,019 across the region, represented a five per cent rise compared to the previous 12 months.

Hampshire was ranked top in the South West, and ninth highest in the country for complaints.

Nationwide, more than 8,000 dogs, 30,000 cats and 3,000

rabbits were taken into the charity’s care.