Is animal cruelty becoming more frequent?

Donkeys seized during an MSPCA raid of a Ludlow property are seen here grazing at the Animal Rescue League of Boston's shelter in Dedham.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Three recent animal cruelty cases in western Massachusetts in the past two weeks have some people wondering whether animal abuse is becoming more common.

Pam Peebles of the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center told 22News that there has been a noticeable increase in the number of animal cruelty reports in recent years, but that might have a lot to do with the fact that people are more aware of the problem.

She noted that changes in state law have been helpful.

“Animals have to be included in domestic violence orders. So not only are the people looked after in their orders, but so are the animals,” Peebles said.

She also credited social media with helping to spread concern about animals who are suffering.

Tiffany Coe, a pet care specialist at the Good Dog Spa in Chicopee agreed.

“The biggest kick start was how the Internet grew and social media grew, and that has definitely helped get people aware of properly taking care of their animals,” Coe said.

Last week, Ricardo Costa of Ludlow was arrested for allegedly beating his pet dog, Scrunchy, with a set of pruning loppers.

In a separate case out of Ludlow last week, dozens of animals, from sheep to emus, were seized off a property owned by Dean Manuel. The MSPCA says that the animals were being kept without adequate food, water, or shelter.

On Monday, Wilbraham police arrested Nathan Torretti, who allegedly threw and injured a Papillon dog during a domestic dispute.

All of the animals in these three cases are receiving treatment at animal hospitals or shelters.

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