They may be man’s best friend, but sadly cruelty towards dogs increased by 4.29% in Powys last year, new figures released by RSPCA Cymru reveal.

This 4.29% contributed to a nation wide 10% increase in cruelty to dogs in Wales.

In 2022, there were 3,379 reports made to the RSPCA in Wales about cruelty to dogs, compared with 3,065 in 2021.

The heartbreaking figures include reports made about intentional harm, neglect and abandonments.

Shockingly, there were 579 reports of intentional harm to dogs in 2022, while there were 45 abandonment reports, 81 reports concerning illegal activity and 1,922 reports relating to neglect.

In 2022, across Wales, the most calls for dogs came in from Swansea (296), Rhondda Cynon Taff (294) and Cardiff (278) with reports from each area increasing from 2021.

In 2022, across Powys there were 146 complaints alleged cruelty referring to dogs, which has increased from 140 complaints last year.

In summer months cases of cruelty rise and the charity is braced for its busiest time of the year.

The charity has released the heartbreaking figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, in a bid to raise funds to help its frontline rescue teams continue to save animals from cruelty and abuse.

Gemma Cooper, deputy chief inspector for West and Mid Wales, said: “For hundreds of years dogs have been known as man’s best friend, and if you share your home with one, you will know why, as they are such loyal and loving companions.

“But these awful statistics tell a different story.

"Dogs are the most abused animal in this country and we investigate more complaints about them than any other type of animal.

“Everyone who cares about animals will be sickened to know how many reports we receive about dogs being kicked, beaten, burned or worse.

"We need the public’s help to Cancel Out Cruelty.

"Their donations, no matter how small, help keep our frontline officers out on the road rescuing animals and investigating these terrible reports.”

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, said: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in Wales on a massive scale and rising.

"It is heartbreaking that we are seeing such sad figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.

“While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase, the cost of living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in has created an animal welfare crisis.

“Each year, these reports reach its terrible annual peak in the summer months, when an animal is beaten on average every hour of every day.

"The cost-of-living crisis also means the cost of rescuing animals is at an all-time high and our vital services are stretched to the limit.”