The RSPCA has revealed a "shocking catalogue of deliberate cruelty and neglect" to animals in the last year.
Convictions for animal neglect has risen by nearly 40% up from 3,114 in 2011 to 4,168 last year, the RSPCA's annual prosecutions report states.
The charity said there was also a 15.7% increase in the number of defendants convicted, with the number of those found guilty of offences rising to 1,552 in 2012 from 1,341 a year earlier.
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant called on judges to take these offences "far more seriously", he added that his staff was "struggling to keep up" in their fight against animal cruelty.
More top news
Watch Molly's shock as her high school sweetheart Kevin pops the question as they are getting their picture taken.
Police are searching for the 'despicable' thieves who stole an elderly couple's Christmas money in a distraction robbery.
The alleged row over parking is said to have started after the local council re-paved a road in Harrow.