An RSPCA inspector has said that the horrific scale of animal cruelty in Lancashire can be partly blamed on poverty levels.
Blackpool inspector Carl Larsson says often animals become neglected when their owners can no longer afford to keep them.
The claim comes after an RSPCA annual report discovered a six per cent rise in cruelty complaints investigated in the county, as revealed in The Gazette yesterday.
Lancashire had the sixth highest number of complaints investigated in England in 2016/2015, with 5,124 incidents, compared to 4,811 the previous year.
Mr Larsson, who transferred to Blackpool from North Yorkshire last year, said: “You do see a correlation between areas which are deprived and high numbers of animal cruelty reports.
“This can be linked to people getting animals and not being able to afford them, which ends with the animal getting sick and suffering.”
In 2015, official reports revealed Blackpool was ranked the 4th most deprived area in England. This was the worst ranking of all the 14 authorities in the broader Lancashire area.
However, as of 2016, the resort no longer makes the top 10 list. Mr Larsson said: “We are one of the busiest groups in the Lancashire area. We do get some really good results with prosecuting animal abusers.” Some 31 people in Lancashire were prosecuted by the RSPCA last year, including the Blackpool owner of an elderly dog found with a painful tumour in his eye.