The South Yorkshire region looms large in a league of shame of animal cruelty as investigators dealt with more than 9000 complaints of attacks on pets and wildlife in just two years.
The RSPCA today put out its annual figures for the number of complaints it probed in 2016 compared to the previous year, and shed a light on acts that one senior inspector described as “deliberate brutality”.
South Yorkshire was ranked as the seventh highest county on a national table showing the number of investigations - with 4466 in 2015 and 4806 last year.
The county was also joint tenth on the table of areas which featured the highest conviction levels – fetching 44 last year compared to 39 in 2015.
Dermot Murphy, assistant director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: “It continues to outrage and sadden me that people can be capable of such deliberate brutality towards animals, but equally it drives me on to ensure that perpetrators of animal cruelty are put before the courts.
“I believe that the figures from last year show that we’re not becoming crueler, but that people are simply less willing to stand by and do nothing if they think an animal is suffering."
As part of the figures, the charity released a case study about an American bulldog called ‘Buster’ who was found to be suffering from two painful conditions at a house in Barnsley in November 2015.
Then just ten months old, Buster had a severe skin condition called demodectic mange, which causes inflammation to the skin, and bilateral entropion, where the eyelids turn inwards.
A man and woman admitted animal cruelty charges last year and were disqualified from keeping animals for five years and given a 12 month community order. Buster was rehomed.
RSPCA inspector Jo Taylor said: “It was heartbreaking to find Buster in this terrible condition. It was clear to anyone that Buster was suffering and needed further veterinary treatment.”
Across England and Wales, a total of 149, 604 complaints were investigated by the RSPCA last year, compared to 143,004 in 2015 - an increase of 4.61 per cent.