NEW figures show that hundreds of calls warning of deliberate animal cruelty in Worcestershire have been made to RSPCA helplines over the last three years.

The RSPCA said it is a "sad reality" that the charity deals with animal cruelty daily.

The figures come in the wake of West Ham United footballer Kurt Zouma, who was prosecuted after a video of him kicking his cat went viral on social media.

In June, Zouma was sentenced to 180 hours of community service and was banned from owning a cat for five years after pleading guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

RSPCA figures show there were 91 calls to its helpline for reporting intentional harm to an animal in Worcestershire last year – down from 105 in 2020.

There were 192 calls over deliberate cruelty in 2019, meaning there have been a total of 388 in the last three years alone.

Intentional harm incidents involve attempted or improper killings, beatings, poisonings, mutilations and injuries or deaths in suspicious circumstances.

Across England, 35,379 calls were made reporting intentional harm over the last three years.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA chief inspectorate officer, said: "It is a sad reality that we deal with animal cruelty every day here at the RSPCA.

"We are a nation of animal lovers but yet we received over 11,000 complaints of intentional harm through our helpline last year reporting animals from cats, dogs, hedgehogs and everything in between who have sadly been victims of deliberate cruelty.

"We need your help to keep our frontline officers out on the road saving animals and to help us raise awareness that this cruelty is never acceptable."

Mr Murphy also highlighted the rise in intentional harm calls during the summer months – nationally, more calls were taken between July and September than any other three-month period last year.