The Scottish SPCA has revealed that its frontline staff responded to more than 7,500 incidents last year in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire last year.
The organisation’s leading figure has lamented the scale of the problem – amounting to 150 incidents every week – which he and his colleagues are having to tackle.
Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “While Scotland is a nation of animals lovers, unfortunately there are some who still abuse and neglect animals.”
The charity has hailed its ground-breaking education programme as the way forward, but appreciates this will not eradicate the worst offences overnight.
Ch Supt Flynn added: “We firmly believe that education is the key to preventing cruelty.
“So we are encouraged by the continued success of our Prevention through Education programme for primary schools, which has reached over 23,000 children in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
“Our inspectors and animal rescue officers also go above and beyond in communities throughout the country, working with members of the public, giving advice, providing support and offering assistance where possible.”
Scotland’s animal welfare charity also revealed it cared for more than 2,000 animals at its animal rescue and rehoming centre at Drumoak in Aberdeenshire.
Centre manager Graeme Innes said: “Last year, we found wonderful new homes for over 600 animals from our centre, but there is always more that we can do to raise awareness of the number of rescue animals in our care.
“Many of the animals were rescued from lives of abuse or neglect and some were even discarded like rubbish when their owners decided they no longer wanted to look after them.
“It is heartbreaking to think about, but people can help by giving one of these pets a second chance or spreading the word to friends and family.
“This year, we hope to find homes for even more of the animals.
“We would certainly encourage anyone thinking of taking on a pet to check out our website or visit our Aberdeenshire centre.”