The number of animal cruelty prosecutions by the RSPCA in Northamptonshire increased by a third in the past year, latest figures have shown.
In 2012, 21 people in the county were convicted of animal cruelty but, last year, this figure had increased to 28.
RSPCA officers in the Midlands investigated 47,858 complaints in 2013 compared to 47,426 a year earlier. Nationally, 153,770 complaints of cruelty were investigated by inspectors, an increase from 150,833 in 2012.
One of the most shocking stories of animal cruelty involved Rocky the dog from Northampton, who was shot six times with an air gun by his owner and left to die in a ditch.
Amazingly, Rocky survived his ordeal after being found by a council worker and he has now been successfully rehomed.
David Bowles, head of external affairs at the RSPCA, said: “Whilst we are heartened that the numbers of convictions have decreased in most areas, the fact that we are investigating more and more complaints shows that there is still a culture of cruelty out there.”
The national figures show that dogs were still the animal most likely to be involved in cruelty cases, with 2,505 related convictions, although this was slightly down on 2012 (2,568). The RSPCA also emerged as the country’s biggest dog rescuer, collecting more than 17,500 dogs in 2013.
Mr Bowles added: “Although there have been fewer convictions relating to dogs, we are still rescuing more and more and the fact is that the RSPCA takes in some of the most needy dogs - we don’t pick and choose by breed or by the desperate lives that they’ve lived before they came to us.”