Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 11:41 UK

County second for animal cruelty

Tony the lurcher (RSPCA picture)
Tony was barely alive when he was found

West Yorkshire has the second highest number of convictions for animal cruelty in England and Wales, according to new figures from the RSPCA.

There were a total of 122 convictions in 2007, and three prison sentences handed out.

In South Yorkshire there were 66 convictions, in North Yorkshire 14 and in the Humber region three.

The RSPCA statistics for 2007 showed the West Midlands had the highest rate with 222 convictions.

The figures for West Yorkshire were the highest for the whole of the northern region.

North regional superintendent Dave Millard said: "These animals are the helpless victims of our throwaway society.

"When their needs become too much for their owners, they are ignored, causing suffering and even death."

'Withering away'

In one case, RSPCA officers found Tony the lurcher locked in a shed in Halifax with another dog.

They had been there for five weeks with only one bowl of food and one bowl of water between them.

Tony, had lost half his body weight and was found curled up around the body of the other dog, who died.

His owner pleaded guilty to abandonment and neglect and was given a three-month suspended sentence, 12 months supervision order and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Tony the lurcher (RSPCA picture)
Tony has now be re-homed

The dog was nursed back to full health by the RSPCA and has since been re-homed.

RSPCA Insp Nicky Foster said: "He's developed into a happy, healthy young dog, full of life and exuberance."

In an incident in South Yorkshire, four whippet-cross dogs were found withering away in a pen in their owner's back yard having been poorly fed.

The owner was given a two-year conditional discharge and banned from keeping animals for life.

The RSPCA said the new Animal Welfare Act, which came into force in 2007, had made it possible to take action sooner in cases of animal welfare.

Mr Millard said: "The act is already producing powerful results in its first 12 months.

"Without it, this year's cruelty figures could have been even more horrific."


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