A SUNBURNED pony and a stabbed dog are some of the cases being highlighted as the RSPCA reveals it has boosted its cruelty convictions by almost a quarter.
The charity has revealed the number of people convicted for cruelty and neglect to animals rose by 23.5% in England and Wales last year.
And figures for the North of England show West Yorkshire as an animal cruelty hotspot.
The region had 216 reports of cruelty in 2011, with 82 defendants convicted.
The level of reports is over 50% higher than neighbouring Lancashire (139) and more than double that of North Yorkshire (101).
The level of convictions is also the highest in the North.
The shocking rise in cruelty has been unveiled as the animal charity launches its annual fundraising push – RSPCA Week 2012 (30 April to May 6).
Notable cases being highlighted in West Yorkshire include a pony found in a terrible condition on an old colliery site in Wakefield.
Three-year- old Amigo was spotted by a woman walking her dog on the site off Newmarket Lane in Stanley last June.
She called the RSPCA and managed to get him back to her own stable yard until an inspector arrived.
RSPCA inspector, Sally Wren, said: “It doesn't bear thinking about what would have happened if he hadn't been rescued when he was.
“He was suffering liver failure, possibly as a result of eating ragwort, which also makes the skin more sensitive to the sun, hence the badly sunburned skin. He was unable to stand and needed immediate veterinary attention.”
After a few weeks in RSPCA care Amigo was transferred to Redwings Horse Sanctuary but will always need veterinary support.
Another nasty case featured a Leeds dog with such a severe skin condition that he was bald.
‘Flaky’, as he was called by staff at RSPCA Bradford and District branch animal centre, was suffering from demodectic mange, a skin disease caused by mites and also had overgrown nails when he was handed into police in Leeds last May.
The woman, who claimed to have found him, later admitted having owned him for a couple of weeks.
She was given an adult written caution.
Amid the bad news there were also some amazing stories of survival, including the story of County Durham dog Maggie May – who had been run over by a car.
Rather than seeking veterinary treatment for her, her owner decided to tie chopsticks to her broken leg with tape.
The following day his two friends came around and set about trying to kill the six-month-old lurcher type dog. The men stood on the dog and forced her back legs over her head, breaking her neck.
She was then stabbed several times with a potato peeler by one of the defendants and dumped on a grass verge to die.
Despite her horrific ordeal, Maggie May beat all the odds and survived.
Her broken leg had to be amputated, but she was re-homed after receiving extensive veterinary care.
The owner – who wasn’t involved in the attack – was given a 12 week prison sentence suspended for 24 months and a community supervision order.
He was banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
Two men were jailed for 18 weeks and banned from keeping animals for life in August 2011 after they admitted causing a dog to suffer unnecessarily.
Overall there were 2,105 dog cruelty convictions in England and Wales last year – a 22% rise.
There was also a 21 % increase in disqualifications on keeping animals imposed by courts (1,100 in
2011) and a 27 % rise in prison sentences imposed by courts (74 in 2011).