ANIMAL cruelty is on the rise in East Lancashire, according to new figures released by the RSPCA.

The statistics have been released during the charity’s annual fundraising push, RSPCA Week.

Figures for the North of England show a 12.3 per cent rise on convictions during last year, while the number of people the charity considered prosecuting in Lancashire last year was the second highest in the entire north region.

The number of incidents considered by the RSPCA for prosecution across the county was 139, second only to West Yorkshire with 216.

Of those 139, 60 people were convicted, the joint fourth highest with East Yorkshire, after West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire/Cleveland and Durham.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said there is major concern throughout the organisation.

He 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.

“We need the courts and councils, police and people who care to join us in standing up and getting justice for Britain’s abused animals.”

The figures, for the north of England, showed 529 people were convicted for cruelty and neglect compared to 471 in 2010, a rise of 12.3 per cent, there were 458 disqualifications for keeping animals imposed by courts compared to 415 in 2010, a 10.3 per cent rise, and 22 prison sentences imposed by courts compared to 19 in 2010, a 15.7 per cent rise.

A dog was found dumped in an Accrington alley, between Primrose Street and Fountain Street, on Christmas morning last year.

The female American bulldog, named Hope, was collapsed and extremely emaciated.

She was taken in by staff at the RSPCA branch in Preston where she made slow and steady progress before being taken in by Gareth Meares, of Leyland.

Mr Meares said: “It’s only been a few days but she is settling in well.

“We’re a perfect match really and I guess you might say it was meant to be.”

In January, Lee Rainford, 26, of Leyland Road, Burnley, was banned from keeping animals for five years, given a curfew and ordered to pay £70 costs after letting a puppy suffer an agony for two weeks after docking its tail.

His efforts resulted in the pup getting an infection and eventually having to be removed by a vet.