MARY is the perfect picture of a loving new mother, nurturing her newborn with over-protective instinct.
But that chance was almost stolen away from the eight-month-old brindle cattle dog cross when her owner attempted to drown her because she was pregnant.
Mary is just one of many victims of animal cruelty in Gladstone.
Recently released statistics show that Gladstone residents are abusing more animals than ever before.
RSPCA regional inspector Shayne Tower-Hammond said 2004 was probably one of the worst years for animal cruelty and duty of care in Gladstone.
"We had over 200 complaints made to us, with onethird of them being cruelty cases,''he said.
Mr Tower-Hammond said the RSPCA had found a large increase in the number of complaints over recent years.
"These results have have had a substantial increase on 2003 figures,'' he said.
He said the RSPCA was successful in two prosecutions last year while two more were still to go through court.
"One of the prosecutions was a severe case, where we found a dog which was covered in 10,000 ticks,'' he said.
"The people who treat the animals like this are warned and helped by Animal Welfare to avoid prosecution, or they take their animals away.
"Some just don't fix it at all, and there is nothing else we can do but prosecute them for their actions.''
To adopt Mary or any of her pups, phone Sue on 4979 3155.