West Yorkshire has been named among the worst blackspots in the country for animal cruelty.
The latest statistics published by the RSPCA have revealed convictions for animal neglect and cruelty rose by nearly 34 per cent nationally in just 12 months, with horses and small animals suffering the most.
Inspectors from the charity said the economic slump was partly to blame for the rise because people cannot afford to pay veterinary fees or for the upkeep of their pets.
West Yorkshire witnessed the largest number of people being convicted in the North of England with 126 offenders in 2012 compared with 82 in the previous 12 months.
RSPCA chief inspector Heidi Jenner, said the charity’s resources were also coming under pressure because of fewer donations.
She added: “People often do not realise just how expensive a pet can prove to be, especially when something goes wrong as veterinary fees can be very expensive.
“While every case is different and has to be treated as such, we do believe that the recession is having a significant effect on the rising number of cruelty cases.
“This comes at a time when our own resources are already stretched to breaking point, and we are suffering financially as donations have reduced significantly.”
The RSPCA’s figures showed a 33.8 per cent increase in the number of convictions nationally from 3,114 in 2011 to 4,168 last year.
Individual defendants can receive more than one conviction, but the figures also showed a 15.7 per cent increase in the number of offenders convicted.