COMPLAINTS of animal cruelty in Monmouthshire rose by one-fifth in 2018, the RSPCA has said.

The charity investigated 392 complaints in the county in 2018 – up from 323 the previous year.

Across Wales, there were 10,856 investigations in 2018, compared with 10,176 in 2017.

The RSPCA said video footage posted on social media had played a key role in this figure – the highest in five years.

Last year, the charity secured 164 convictions against 80 defendants, including thee youths, in magistrates' courts in Wales. A further 41 people were cautioned by RSPCA in 2018.

RSPCA Cymru superintendent Martyn Hubbard said: “In 2018, our inspectorate dealt with unimaginable cruelty, with some truly shocking, disturbing and upsetting cases captured on camera.”

He added: “Our message is clear – we will not tolerate animal cruelty in Wales. Nevertheless, prosecution is generally a last resort for the RSPCA. The vast majority of RSPCA work is improving animal welfare by giving advice to owners.

“In 2018 the number of animal owners who were offered and accepted welfare advice numbered 5,940.

“Put simply, there is no excuse for animal cruelty and RSPCA Cymru will continue to ensure animal welfare laws are adhered to in all corners of the country.”

To contact the RSPCA Cymru with any animal welfare concerns, call 0300 1234 999. Calls are anonymous and in confidence.