A dog seized from his owner following fears about his welfare was found to have a piece of wood lodged in his skull - which had been there for three years.
The case was just one of dozens dealt with by the RSPCA in the Sheffield area last year.
Details were released as the charity published its annual prosecution figures.
In South Yorkshire, 37 people were prosecuted for cruelty against animals in 2012.
A spokeswoman said: “We were shocked to discover a three-inch piece of wood lodged in the skull of this poor dog, Tigger.
“Vets estimate the shard had been lodged in Tigger’s skull for approximately three years, creating an open wound that would not heal and which had not been appropriately treated.”
In another South Yorkshire case a man was prosecuted for abandoning his father’s racing pigeons, allowing 16 to die.
RSPCA inspectors found 53 pigeons alive but some did not have food or water.
The 29-year-old had been asked to care for the birds but went away and failed to tell his father. He admitted five counts of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of the birds.
He was banned from keeping animals for five years and ordered to pay £500 in costs. He was also given a 12-month community order.
In a third case a dog called Mia - a six-year-old white and tan cross breed - was left without hearing in one ear after her owner neglected to seek help for a painful infection.
Her owners were prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Nationally there was a 34 per cent rise in those prosecuted for animal neglect and cruelty - but in South Yorkshire last year’s prosecutions were down by four from the 41 in 2011.
RSPCA chief Gavin Grant said the UK generally was facing ‘a growing animal cruelty crisis’.