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24 April 2012, 06:00 | Updated: 24 April 2012, 07:56
New figures released by the RSPCA show they have had to deal with a big increase in animal cruelty cases in the East of England.
In the East region in 2011:
232 people were convicted for cruelty and neglect in the East (153 in 2010)
353 convictions in relation to cruelty to dogs in the East (193 in 2010)
172 bans in the East (125 in 2010)
15 prison sentences in East (12 in 2010)
499 people in the East reported to the RSPCA prosecutions department (451 in 2010)
Pets were not the only victims. Cases involving farm animals last year rose as well as convictions relating to equines (230 in 2011).
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “The RSPCA faces a crisis that is stretching us to breaking point. We show zero tolerance to animal abusers. Anyone causing animals pain for profit or pleasure will be tracked down and prosecuted."
Sally Case, head of society prosecutions, said: “The RSPCA strives to keep animals with their owners wherever possible and offers advice on improving their welfare. Overwhelmingly this advice is followed, but where it isn’t, or where someone has already harmed an animal there has to be a way of ensuring that animals are not left to suffer and the RSPCA is the charity people turn to – and we are struggling to continue providing this service."