More than 900 animal welfare complaints have been investigated by the Wellington SPCA in the last year, with nine prosecutions for extreme abuse and neglect.
The organisation is highlighting animal cruelty during its annual Paws Appeal this week.
About 500 collectors will hit the streets on Friday and Saturday, collecting donations and raising awareness of animal abuse and neglect.
Spokesman James Craw said the rising number of animal abuse cases was a sign of the times, and disappointing for the charity.
"It reflects a national trend. There are studies linking animal abuse to unemployment," he said.
Some volunteers also have SPCA animals at home, such as Ange Crook, who found her four-month-old blue heeler cross at the shelter in Newtown.
"Compared to a pedigree he has a bit more spunk, he's so full of personality," said Ms Crook.
"We wanted a puppy that needed a home. That was quite important - to give it a nice, loving home."
The Newtown shelter is looking after 200 animals, including Rata the cat and Buster the dog, the poster animals for this year's appeal.
Rata and Buster, who were injured and neglected before they were rescued, are two of 6000 animals looked after by the SPCA each year.
To raise awareness of animal cruelty, the SPCA releases a list of shame during its annual appeal.
"[They are] probably ones you've seen on the news where the animal had to be put down. It's not a nice list," Mr Craw said.
Last year the SPCA raised nearly $80,000.
Wellington SPCA recently got approval from Wellington City Council to move to a new site in Mt Victoria.
- The Wellingtonian