Animal cruelty is on the rise as Australians battle the cost of living crisis, with some pets being deprived of basic needs.

New data from the RSPCA in Western Australia has revealed an 11 per cent increase in animal cruelty reports in the past year.

The animal rights body received 7126 animal cruelty reports in the 2022-23 financial year, an average of more than 19 a day.

According to RSPCA WA chief executive Ben Cave, there’s a common factor: the cost of living crisis.

He’s begged owners to seek help if they can’t afford to look after their animals.

‘With the rising cost of living hitting … we’re worried neglect of those basic needs is only going to increase,” he said in a statement.

“If you’re no longer able to care for your animals to the standard they deserve you must reach out for help sooner rather than later.”

The WA RSPCA said reports of owners failing to seek vet care spiked by 18 per cent last financial year, compared to 2021-22, while reports of animals without enough food or water were up 22 per cent.

“On the surface these reports might seem less serious than violent acts of cruelty, but the sad reality is, the animals in these cases have often suffered day in, day out for weeks or months,” he said.

“We understand owners fall on hard financial times, but ignoring your pet’s pain or hunger is not a solution, it’s animal cruelty.”

Mr Cave said most of the cases prosecuted by RSPCA WA last financial year related to animals deprived of their most basic needs.

There were 1507 reports involving animals who had not been given enough food or water reported in the past 12 months, a 22 per cent increase.

There was also a 32 per cent spike in abandonments, with 1173 reports of an abandoned animal.

The RSPCA regularly shares harrowing stories of animals facing abuse, including one about a dog named Big Boy who was so emaciated that he could not walk, found lying in and eating his own faeces.

“He had painful urine scalding and pressures sores down the side of his body, maggots in his fur, a urinary tract and ear infection, and was suffering with hypothermia – likely due to being soaked in his own urine for an extended period,” the RSPCA said about his condition.

Big Boy along with two other dogs were seized, but the 17-year-old animal was euthanised after vets determined it was “the kindest option”.

His owner, a 53-year-old woman, was fined $6000 and was banned from owning a pet for five years over the mistreatment.

Pet owners not taking proper care of their animals is not the only issue facing the RSPCA.

“In 2022-23, RSPCA WA finalised 29 prosecutions relating to 65 dogs, 4 cats and 8 horses,” Mr Cave said.

“Most of the dogs were from puppy farms where their medical and behavioural needs had been badly neglected. They were living in squalor, being bred time and time again for profit.”

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By Rahul

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