WA animal welfare inspectors are responding to more than 100 tip-offs of animal cruelty a week - including shocking cases of animals allegedly being beaten, stabbed and thrown from cars - as part of an unprecedented increase in complaints.
The RSPCA says it is alarmed at a 25 per cent increase in animal cruelty complaints, many resulting in reports of alleged neglect at the hands of owners who were too poor to look after their pets.
In July, August and last month, inspectors received 1577 complaints of cruelty in WA, compared with 1266 in the same three months last year.
Last financial year, more than 6000 calls were investigated, most involving alleged cruelty against dogs.
The charity's chief inspector, Amanda Swift, said the cases ranged from elderly animals with untreated injuries to horrific beatings resulting in the animals being put down or having limbs amputated.
"The shocking cruelty is the intent cruelty that we're seeing the rise of," she said. "They're the ones where they're intentionally beating or injuring the animal, they're being beaten, kicked and thrown out of moving cars."
In the past week, inspectors have been called to several incidents where dogs and cats were barely alive after being locked in hot cars and a building where a dog had allegedly been abandoned while tied up with no water.
Ms Swift said poverty was closely linked with animal cruelty and those suffering the most often took their frustrations out on their pets by beating them or leaving them with broken limbs because they could not afford veterinary care.
Suburbs where inspectors received the most call-outs included Gosnells, Armadale, Balga, Baldivis and Ellenbrook.
Shenton Park Dogs' Refuge Home manager Judy Flanagan said the facility had a steady increase in the amount of dogs being surrendered by owners unable to afford to look after them.
"It's pretty tough out there for a lot of people and we are seeing a lot of cases of financial hardship," she said.
"A few of those people's animals will end up in the pound, in the worst-case scenarios I'm sure they're not even cared for, or end up being hit by a car or dumped."