What is animal cruelty?

Most of us can't imagine how anyone could be cruel to animals. Here at the RSPCA, we believe that animals, from crustaceans to cows, are sentient beings with feeling and emotions.

But what is animal cruelty? It's when someone causes harm to an animal, whether it's intentional or not. Since cruelty is on the rise in the summer, we are calling on everyone to take a stand.

Together we can #CancelOutCruelty

Your kind donation today will help more animals who really need us. Together we can #CancelOutCruelty

Please donate today

Your kindness of a monthly donation helps support our long-term projects, thank you.

Summer is the cruellest time of year for dogs

Last year, between June and August, we received 2,053 reports of cruelty to dogs. That's almost one dog every hour beaten, neglected or deliberately harmed - often by the person meant to protect them.

We can't let this suffering go on. This summer we're shining a light on cruelty and how to help stop it.

Together we can #CancelOutCruelty

Take part to cancel out cruelty


Join our campaigns to help cancel out cruelty

Millions of animals still need your help - add your voice to our campaigns for better animal welfare.

Join us to help cancel out cruelty

Sign our petition to get animal welfare taught in schools

Education and prevention are key to making sure we create a world which is kinder to animals, which is why we are joining forces with the Daily Mirror.

Sign our petition

Compassionate Family

Compassionate Family is our new programme that encourages the values of compassion and empathy, through a series of fun activities and discussions about animals.

Start your programme today

Become a valued volunteer

Volunteers make a huge contribution to the work we do to prevent cruelty, promote kindness and alleviate the suffering of animals.

Volunteer to cancel out cruelty

Take part in your own 'Little Steps' walk

Calling all children, we would love you to take part in your very own Little Steps walk and help raise money for poorly-treated animals. As a thank you, if you raise £50 or more in sponsorship money you'll receive a free superhero cape!

Join Little Steps now

Cancel out cruelty clothing

Support our Cancel Out Cruelty campaign in style with our official merch. Whether you want to show your love for animals, campaign on big issues or simply look good, we have something for everyone.

Shop RSPCA clothing

Campaign. Donate. Take part. #CancelOutCruelty

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Max was viciously beaten

The treatment of little Max was so bad a member of the public immediately called our Animal Rescue Line. An RSPCA Animal Rescue Team rushed to the scene. What they saw when they entered the house was shocking. Blood was spattered all over the floor and on various objects strewn about the place - including a metal colander.

Max was rushed to the vet and the full extent of his terrible injuries became apparent. He had a fractured tooth, a gash on his head, multiple painful bruises and a dislocated hip.

> Read Max's full story to recovery

Cruelty news and updates


Top 10 animal cruelty hotspots

We reveal the top 10 animal cruelty hotspots in England and Wales, with stats showing intentional harm to animals.

Learn more

Cruel summer

Figures show an increase in calls across the summer months meaning we're contacted about an animal being harmed every 30 minutes.

Learn more

How we investigate cruelty

When RSPCA inspectors have reason to believe that an offence has been committed, they prepare a case file containing evidence such as witness statements, photographs, and veterinary or other expert advice.

We, unlike the police, have no special powers to gather evidence. But we use the law to ensure any evidence gathered can be used in court. Once the investigation is complete, the file is submitted to our prosecutions team, who consider whether the case ought to be prosecuted.

> How we investigate cruelty

RSPCA Inspector carrying a cat

Reporting cruelty

Reporting cruelty

As a direct consequence of public action, we rescue thousands of animals each year and save them from future suffering. If in doubt always contact us and set your mind at rest.

>  Report cruelty checklist

In partnership with

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Animal cruelty hotspot map

See how many alleged cases of animal cruelty have been reported to us in your local area.

View animal cruelty map

Our strategy to 2030

Our mission is to ensure animals have a good life by rescuing and caring for those in need, by advocating on behalf of all animals and by inspiring everyone to treat them with compassion and respect.

Together for animals

Stay informed

Your support will help rescue animals today and ensure that the RSPCA are there for all animals all year round.

RSPCA Newsletter