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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The firm faced exceptional charges linked to the loss-making rail franchise, which saw profits at the company sink last year.
Mother of two Julie Parkin, 39, suffered knife wounds during the attack in Sunderland in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Singing superstar Ed Sheeran will play St James' Park in June 2018 as part of his nationwide tour.