A new welfare officer has joined the North Devon RSPCA branch after a rise in demand for its services.

The branch has said the latest figures showed reports of animal cruelty are rising in Devon.

El Bunney joined the branch last month, and is responsible for collecting, rescuing and transporting animals, and works with the public to help improve animal welfare in the area.

She said: "We are dedicated to improving the lives of animals across North Devon here at the branch.

"We know so many people want to do their best for their pets and we hope to welcome anyone who needs access to our services and support."

This year, Devon has seen one of the largest increases of cruelty reports in the South West, increasing from 14,027 to 14,676.

It is also ranked 10th nationally for the volume of calls to the 24 hour hotline with 1,175,293 calls in 2018, an increase of 13 per cent from 2017.