An adorable puppy has found a new home after being cruelly dumped in a rucksack in Berkshire woodland, and left to die by its previous owners.
Witnesses saw the chocolate-coloured cockapoo Watson being dumped in a rucksack in Finchampstead Woods in February.
The small creature was taken to a nearby vets for treatment and to make sure he was healthy.
They then reported the matter to the RSPCA, who deal with animal cruelty and welfare issues.
Next, Watson was taken into the care of RSPCA’s Millbrook Animal Centre where he was rehabilitated.
Once he was fully nursed back to health, he found his forever home, reports Berkshire Live.
But the RSPCA said that Watson’s sad case is not unusual.
New figures released as part of the animal welfare charity’s Cancel Out Cruelty campaign showed that despite being man’s best friend, in Berkshire there were 437 reports of dog cruelty to the RSPCA last year.
Of these, in Berkshire, there were five abandoned dogs, six seized due to illegal activity, a staggering 84 who had been intentionally harmed, 70 left unattended, 263 neglected and nine trapped.
Nationally, there were 44,427 reports of dog cruelty made to the RSPCA involving 92,244 dogs last year.
That is 253 a day or more than 10 an hour – and includes 10,228 dogs reported as beaten.
This showed a significant 16 per cent increase since 2020 – when cruelty reports involving 79,513 dogs were made to the charity.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Every year, we see many dogs coming into our care bearing the physical and mental scars that were inflicted at the hands of the very people who were meant to keep them safe and love them unconditionally.
“We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers and dogs are ‘man’s best friend’ as the saying goes but in reality we receive many cruelty reports every day about dogs who have suffered the most unimaginable cruelty and a 16% increase of dogs being cruelly treated in a year is really concerning.
“Our officers have dealt with all sorts of horrific incidents including dogs repeatedly beaten, stabbed, burned, drowned, poisoned, some have been left to die from starvation.
“With the public’s help in reporting cruelty they have been able to save many dogs from ongoing abuse. Sadly though in some cases others have died at the hands of their tormentors and it is then our job to try and bring some justice for the victim.
“During the summer we see a rise in cruelty and this year as we have seen such a massive increase in dog ownership since lockdown we are bracing ourselves for even more reports.
“We believe there are a number of factors which mean summer is our busiest time. Perhaps there is boredom or pressures at home with children being off school which can make existing difficulties magnified.
“This year the cost of living crisis has added a further dimension and we believe we could see people really struggling to care for their pets which may lead them to lash out or could see more animals than ever being abandoned or given up.
“All these factors mean that we need the public’s support more than ever to help Cancel Out Cruelty. As a charity, we are bracing to tackle a summer of suffering but we cannot do this without your help and we rely on public support to carry on our rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming work.”