THE number of people convicted for cruelty and neglect to animal lovers rose by almost a quarter last year, with a shocking 529 cases in South Yorkshire.
For a supposed nation of dog lovers, figures revealed by animal charity the RSPCA, ahead of RSPCA week that starts on Monday, are horrific.
Cases highlighted this week include a dog repeatedly stabbed with a potato peeler, an emaciated dog dumped on Christmas Day morning, and an abandoned dog that ate her dead mate to survive.
South Yorkshire has seen its own sickening cases, including a neglected pony left to die on a grass verge near Thurnscoe, and a female Staffy who, together with her puppy Jack, suffered a severe skin condition that was untreated and left them bald. Jack died, but his mum was happily re-homed at Doncaster.
Their first owner from South Hiendley was given a six month community order with 200 hours unpaid work and banned from keeping animals for six years. She was ordered to pay £250 costs.
There has been a 23.5 per cent rise in cruelty convictions, and RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant has warned the charity is stretched almost to breaking point.
The number of people convicted for cruelty and neglect in South Yorkshire rose by 12.3 per cent on 2010. And 458 people were disqualified from keeping animals. Visit http://www.rspcaweek.org or follow @RSPCA_Official on Twitter.