Complaints of animal cruelty have fallen in Northumberland.
The RSPCA’s annual figures for 2014 were released this week, showing that thousands of animals continue to suffer ill-treatment.
However, while generally the number of complaints investigated by the charity had gone up, Northumberland bucked the trend.
There were 851 complaints investigated in the county last year, down from 1,001 in 2013. The figure was the fifth lowest of English counties.
For direct cruelty, including beatings, poisoning, trapping or mutilation, there were 105 allegations in 2014, down from 139 the previous year. It was the fourth lowest figure, behind Rutland, Herefordshire and the Isle of Wight.
There were nine people in Northumberland convicted of animal cruelty, down from ten in 2013.
Nationally, the RSPCA investigated 159,831 complaints, up from 153,770 in 2013, and a shocking 20,258 involved alleged deliberate cruelty.