Animals continue to be abandoned daily during summer abject neglect

Published on 18 February 2022

RSPCA Victoria concerned about rate of abandoned animals

RSPCA Victoria is again urging pet owners to take responsibility for their animals this summer, as cruelty reports for abandonment continue to spike during the hotter months.

RSPCA Victoria received 1,163 reports of abandoned animals last financial year, with 384 of these reports during last summer alone.

Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said the number of cruelty reports relating to abandonment is truly disappointing.

“As owners or people in charge of animals, we have a duty of care and a legal obligation to ensure they are provided with food, water, shelter and veterinary care. If you are going away, that duty of care necessitates that you arrange proper care for your animals in your absence.

“We understand many people incorporate travel into their lives, so whether it’s a family holiday or work related, if you’re making plans for yourself and your family, you need to ensure you have also planned for your pets.

“Leaving animals unattended for extended periods of time can lead to suffering and may be fatal, especially in the warmer weather when they need additional water and access to shade,” said Chief Inspector Stagg.

RSPCA Victoria is reminding pet owners who need to travel that leaving food or water for animals without any supervision for an extended period of time is not an adequate arrangement.  All owners must take responsibility for their animals and ask for help from family or friends or consider using the services of a boarding facility or pet minder.

Cruelty reports related to abandoned animals increase in warmer months, with many reports lodged by concerned members of the community.  Prior to travelling, owners who have organised someone to care for animals in their absence should advise neighbours of plans to avoid unnecessary concern.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, any person in charge of an animal is required to provide food, water and shelter, as well as appropriate husbandry and veterinary attention as needed.

If leaving pets with friends or family
• Choose someone who can provide your pet their normal routine in your absence
• Provide food and comprehensive information on the pet’s usual diet and eating time
• Explain your pet’s exercise routine
• Provide medicines and information on behavioural needs
• Leave contact information for your local veterinarian

If using a mobile pet-sitting services
• Provide food and comprehensive information on the pet’s usual diet and eating time
• Provide details of the animal’s exercise routine, medical or behavioural needs
• Be comfortable requesting references
• Assess the animal’s suitability for this type of service – while arrangements to visit a pet once or twice daily may be suitable for some animals, keep in mind that animals such as cats and dogs are social creatures that require affection, attention and care. If travelling for an extended period of time, consider other options.

Catteries and boarding kennels
• Ensure pets are vaccinated – many facilities will not accept unvaccinated animals
• Research a number of facilities and compare them – read reviews and inspect the premises before committing to using the service.
• Book ahead, especially in peak holiday periods
• Provide comprehensive information on the animal’s usual diet, exercise routine, medical or behavioural needs.

“If people find they can no longer provide adequate care for their animals, there is no shame in surrendering them and we urge those struggling to contact RSPCA Victoria for assistance and advice,” said Mr Stagg.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of animals is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate via or by calling 9224 2222.

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