30 cats and kittens seized under warrant after confidential tip-off

Published on 31 March 2023

RSPCA Victoria’s Major Investigations Team investigates illegal rearing at Ballarat premises

RSPCA’s Major Investigations Team has just concluded a large-scale law enforcement operation at two properties in the Ballarat region and have seized 30 cats and kittens under warrant that are now safely in the organisation’s care.

After receiving a tip-off from a member of the community, RSPCA Inspectors from the Major Investigations Team executed six warrants across two properties this morning under Victoria’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA) and Domestic Animals Act 1994 (DAA). The warrants were executed as part of an investigation into a suspected illegal kitten rearing and selling operation.

The investigation involves two persons of interest who have previously been prosecuted by RSPCA Victoria for similar offending. The cats and kittens were found in unsanitary, confined conditions and many did not have access to water.

“RSPCA Victoria is committed to ending illegal animal breeding, rearing and selling in Victoria, and we will continue to pursue all individuals engaging in this behaviour, no matter the complexity of the investigation or the time or resources required,” says Lisa Calleja, RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate Team Leader – Major Investigations.

“RSPCA Victoria relies on information from members of the public through reports and tip-offs and these reports are crucial in assisting us to investigate alleged animal welfare offences.

“The Major Investigations Team received a confidential tip-off on Wednesday, 29th March that launched an immediate investigation resulting in the execution of six search warrants at multiple properties within 48 hours.”

“RSPCA Victoria is the only non-government organisation with the power to enforce the law in Victoria. We will continue to identify, pursue and prosecute people who breach animal welfare laws in Victoria and whose actions cause harm or suffering to animals. Our ultimate objective is to end animal cruelty, and we will continue to work toward that vision.”

The sale of animals in public places such as parks, roadsides, and car parks is illegal in Victoria under the Domestic Animals Act 1994. Dogs and cats must be sold from a registered domestic animal business, a private residence, or a place where an animal sale permit is in place. Offences under the Domestic Animals Act carry a penalty of 164 units for individuals, equating to $30,326.88. Offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 carry a penalty of 250 penalty units, equating to $46,230 or imprisonment for 12 months.

RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate received 1,922 reports involving cats and kittens in the 2021/22 financial year, with a total of 6,687 cats and kittens involved across these reports.

All reports made to RSPCA Victoria’s Major Investigations Team must be lodged via https://rspcavic.org/tip-off-form or by calling 9224 2222. Facebook messages and emails through unofficial channels do not constitute an
official cruelty report.

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