The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has called 2014’s summer the “cruellest on record” after its inspectors reported seeing an “increasingly horrifying” catalogue of animal crimes.

Five nine-week-old kittens were found abandoned in a suitcase in Cardiff – with one stuck in the zip.

According to the charity, its inspectors have seen crimes this summer that include:

  • public dog hanging
  • a live cat being flung into the Thames
  • a dog found tortured with a cable tie around its penis
  • five kittens left to die in a suitcase

The charity has also been called to cases where wild animals have been spray painted.

Other calls, meanwhile, have been labelled by the RSPCA as “just bizarre“. One inspector, it said, collected a Mexican red knee tarantula found straying in Hounslow, while another inspector removed two house ducks from a vivarium in a flat in Chatham, Kent.

Backing up the claims, the charity received almost 151,200 calls in June alone. This is an average of 5,000 calls a day, 210 calls an hour or 3.5 calls every 60 seconds.

“This has been one of the cruellest summers our workers on the ground have ever seen,” said RSPCA chief officer of the inspectorate Kevin Degenhard. “We are close to breaking point.”

He added: “No one involved with the RSPCA wants to let an animal in need down, but we really need urgent help. We are asking people who see an animal in need through the summer to think whether they are able to help the animal themselves before calling the helpline.”

Meanwhile, rehoming has dropped 15% since a peak in 2011, with this summer set to be even worse, with a 17% drop, said the charity. Also, collections of abandoned cats are up 13.6% on last year, while more than 250 calls about animals shot with air guns were received in June and July – an increase of more than 6% from last year.

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