Northern folk are the worst in the country for inflicting pain and suffering on animals, shock new statistics show.
Eight of the top ten counties in the cruelty league table for England and Wales are in the north, according to the RSPCA’s annual report out today.
Lancashire comes a shameful sixth out of 47 with 5,252 complaints investigated by the charity during 2014.
More than 700 of those involved claims of deliberate and often violent cruelty - a 23 per cent increase on the numbers recorded in 2013.
“Most of the complaints we receive involve animals being neglected or not receiving the right care,” said the RSPCA’s chief vet James Yeates.
“However it is shocking that in 2014 people are still being deliberately cruel in what can be disturbingly inventive ways.”
The report details a harrowing catalogue of cases where even the most experienced animal welfare inspectors have been shocked by the level of sadistic behaviour shown.
One of those involved a cat which was lying in a Lancashire road after being hit by a car and a passer-by “kicked it like a football several times.” The cat later died and its attacker was jailed for 18 weeks.
In Cumbria a puppy was caught on camera being thrown, kicked and having its head trapped in a door.
A 23-year-old man was sent to prison for 80 days.
Across England and Wales a total of 991 people were convicted of animal cruelty offences in 2014 - a fall of more than 300 on the previous year.
Lancashire courts convicted 44 people on 85 offences last year compared with 34 on 69 offences in 2013.
“It is upsetting that so many people are still mistreating animals by deliberately causing them harm,” said James Yeates.