The shocking scale of animal cruelty in our region is laid bare today with a new report showing convictions for cruelty and neglect have increased by almost a fifth in just one year.
The RSPCA says there's a growing "animal cruelty crisis." In fact across the country, the national picture is even worse, the number of people being successfully prosecuted has risen by a third. Jon Hill reports.
As figures show a rise in the number of animal cruelty cases over the last year there are calls from the RSPCA for judges to take a harsher stance against those who offend in this way.
The RSPCA is leading the fight against a growing animal cruelty crisis. Our staff, volunteers and branches show tremendous dedication but theyare struggling to keep up.
For us, prosecution is always the last resort. Our inspectors investigated 150,833 suspected cruelty cases and issued 78,090 advice notices last year - these are extremely effective in improving the care of animals.
However if there is evidence of a crime and serious animal abuse then we will take legal action to protect the animals and prevent further abuse. We also want to see judges taking these offences far more seriously.