While shocking, cases of severe animal cruelty aren’t out of the ordinary for those charged with investigating possible abuse.

While shocking, cases of severe animal cruelty aren’t unusual, say those charged with investigating possible abuse.

The Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals receives about 3,000 tips about abuse each year, spokesman Brian Adams said.

Each month, there are one or two cases of extreme physical abuse.

“It’s more than the one or two (cases) the public hears about every year,” he said.

Some of those cases do make national news, such as the Florida teen who was arrested last month for allegedly torturing and killing 19 cats.

Most others are quietly investigated by the MSPCA’s team of specially trained officers, who look into cases ranging from general neglect to torture and death.

Recent incidents include a kitten being cooked in a microwave, a dog killed with a chainsaw and a dog trapped in a running washing machine.

“People unfortunately are fairly creative in the ways they can hurt an animal,” Adams said. “There are a lot of horror stories.”

Animal cruelty is a felony in Massachusetts, penalized by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to five years in prison.

But more than enforcement, the MSPCA is about educating the owner, Adams said.

Only about one percent of the 3,000 cases each year result in charges. Of those, two-thirds are sanctioned.

“The majority of the time, we’re looking to educate and resolve the issue rather than just punishing the person,” he said. “We’re looking out for the best interest of the animal.”

Reach Patriot Ledger writer Allison Manning at amanning@ledger.com.