A dog was "repeatedly stabbed" in the face and left to die in a park in one of an increasing number animal cruelty incidents in Northamptonshire in 2016, new figures show.
The latest RSPCA statistics show that, in Northamptonshire, the yearly number of complaints has risen by 86 from 1,838 in 2015 to 1,924 in 2016.
Among them the charity says a shih-tzu was repeatedly stabbed in the face and neck with a kitchen knife before being left to die in broad daylight.
Assistant director of the RSPCA inspectorate, Dermot Murphy, said: “It never fails to shock me when I look back on the extreme instances of animal cruelty the RSPCA has been called upon to investigate.
“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."
In Northamptonshire there are five cruelty incidents reported every day.
But Mr Murphy said part of the reason the figure has gone up is because people are now increasingly likely to share images or footage of animals they believe are not being cared for properly using social media.
Since the Animal Welfare Act came into force in 2007 the RSPCA has secured convictions for breaches of the legislation relation to more than 25,000 animals, including 15,787 dogs, 3,650 cats and 2,525 equines.
Since 2007 there have been 8,706 disqualification orders on keeping some or all animals issued by the courts following RSPCA prosecutions.
“People might see these figures as a negative," Mr Murphy added. "And I certainly take no satisfaction from knowing that any animal has suffered. What I do take pride in is knowing that because of the RSPCA’s intervention we have prevented many more animals from suffering at the hands of those who we have successfully investigated and brought before the courts,”