The RSPCA charity can prosecute people for neglect or cruelty to animals under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
In 2017-to 2018 , investigators probed 4,770 animal cruelty cases in Lancashire as part of 41,023 complaints across the north.
This represents a decrease from the previous year, when 5,124 complaints were investigated in the county.
Wherever possible the charity offers advice and assistance to improve animal welfare, including giving people time to make improvements to their standards of care.
But this is not always possible or appropriate, such as if there has been a deliberate act of violence against an animal, where people won't accept assistance, or in extreme cases of neglect.
In 2017 the RSPCA said it spends nearly £8m a year on prosecutions.
Recent laws increased the penalty for animal abuse to five years in prison