According to figures, 46 juveniles – mostly males aged 15 to 17 – were involved in cruelty cases. Only 24% of them expressed remorse for their actions. One half of the defendants had prior convictions for a variety of serious offenses including assault, robbery and arson. Only two had prior convictions for crimes involving animals.Most offenses were for physical abuse rather than neglect. Some cases were especially savage: a pregnant sheep stabbed to death with a pitchfork, a pregnant hedgehog beaten to death with a bicycle chain, and ducks stoned to death. Most of the offenses occurred in group settings, rather than individually, due to group pressure and fear of alienation. Most incidents occurred in urban areas and during the warmer months. Crimes fueled by alcohol abuse were described as being particularly horrific.The RSPCA noted an optimistic finding: many of the offenses were reported to the RSPCA by the youths’ peers using their mobile phones. “After collecting mostly somber statistics for this research, it was refreshing to see a lot of young people who understand that animal cruelty cannot be tolerated and are willing to stand up for animals,” the report noted.In 2011, the RSPCA received 159,759 complaints about animal welfare, of which 2,018 were prosecuted. 1,341 defendants, including 24 juvenile offenders, were convicted and 74 received prison sentences.The RSPCA has a cross‐reporting program with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. RSPCA Senior Prosecutions Case Manager Phil Wilson tells The LINK‐Letter that social services and NSPCC agents reported 600 cases to the RSPCA in 2008, the last year for which figures are available, and that RSPCA inspectors reported 46 report of suspected child maltreatment to social services in 2011, a figure which may not include all such reports due to computer errors.