Figures from the RSPCA show cases of cruelty to pets and livestock have increased in the North East by almost ten percent.
The charity's inspectors say the recession has lead to even more animals being abandoned and badly treated. Caution: You may find some of the images in this report upsetting.
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In some wards of Newcastle, 47% of families are reported as living in poverty.
At Ayresome Primary school in Middlesbrough Lego is being used to teach children as soon as they start school.
A 39-year-old mother with epilepsy caused a three vehicle smash after suffering a fit when she should not have been driving.