A RISING tide of violence against animals in Hampshire has been revealed by the RSPCA.

RSPCA officers have investigated more than 4,500 cruelty cases against pet owners in the county.

The 4,586 inquiries into reports of cruelty in Hampshire in 2013 were 211 more than the previous year.

Their probes led to 93 convictions of owners – up from 87 in 2012.

Nationally the number of complaints increased to 153,833 compared to 153,770 the previous year.

This resulted in 3,961 convictions – down from 4,168 the previous year.

Dogs were most likely to be mistreated, with 2,505 convictions, down from 2,568 the previous year.

RSCPA external affairs head David Bowles said: “The fact that we are investigating more and more complaints shows that there is still a culture of cruelty out there.

“We should be proud that, despite taking in some very damaged animals, we rehomed an incredible 55,323 animals in 2013.”