What do I do if I find a stray/injured animal?

Your best option is to call either the local council to collect the animal, or to take it yourself to a local veterinary clinic. Legally this has to be done so that proper processes can be put into place to find the animal’s owner.

If you wish to provide a home for the animal you may go down as the Interested Party, which means that if the animal passes all health and temperament checks you may adopt it.

What do I do if I find an injured bird/wildlife?

Wildlife that is visibly injured should be taken to a local veterinary clinic if they can be safely caught.

Catching a wild animal can be difficult. To minimise further distress to the animal, use a blanket/towel to cover them, pick them up gently in the material and place them in a well-ventilated box or something similar. Being in a warm, dark and quiet space will help calm the animal for transport. Ensure they are transported in a well-ventilated part of your car. Do not transport them in the boot of your vehicle or give them food/water.

If you are unable to catch or get near the wild animal safely, visit this website to find the wildlife carers and rehabilitation organisations in your area to assist, and follow their advice.

If you are unsure if the animal is injured, please check Wildlife Victoria’s fact sheets first for guidance on common wildlife situations.

Do I have to bring my other dog with me to meet the dogs for adoption? Does the whole family have to come down to view animals available for adoption?

Your best option is to check the website to see if we have any suitable dogs for your needs and then call to see if the animal is still available. If so, then come on in! Please note that we are unable to hold the animal for you over the phone as you will be required to speak to the adoption officers first.

If you do have any other dogs we advise that you bring them in. We have meet and greet yards of which provide a safe and controlled environment to introduce the dogs to one another whilst being monitored under supervision. We also need all of the family to come in to see how they interact with the animal and to see how the animal interacts with them.

We are open every day, with Adoption hours from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm. However, we do advise that you arrive by 3.00pm as adoption can take half an hour or more.

Does the RSPCA have a boarding facility to mind my pet’s while I’m away?

Unfortunately we are unable to provide boarding for animals. The internet or Yellow Pages is the best place to find boarding facilities, although please note that we are unable to recommend any establishment.

Before booking in your animal we do recommend that you visit the premises to approve of its conditions and to view how the other boarded animals are treated.

Do photos of all of the animals up for adoption get put onto the website?

No, sometimes there are not photos of all the animals available for adoption on our website. As we have animals transferring into adoptions every day, it can take us a few days to get their details onto the internet. It is best to come in and visit our shelter and talk to the adoptions staff, who can inform you of any suitable animals.

Can I put an animal on hold over the phone?

No, unfortunately we cannot put an animal on hold for you over the phone. You need to come in and view the animals we have available for adoption and speak to the adoptions staff to ensure suitability, who can then make an approval of whether or not we are able to put the animal on hold for you. If you have other animals/family members then you may need to bring them into the shelter also.

If I surrender a pet, can you ring me if it doesn’t get a home?

No, we do not do follow up calls to advise you if the animal you surrendered does not find a home. When you surrender your animal to the RSPCA you will be given a case number, and can contact us after the eight day quarantine period to check on the progress of the animal.

Can you come out and collect a duck and ducklings because they are near a busy road or if there is a mother with ducklings in my swimming pool or yard?

As these ducks are wildlife we interfere as little as possible. The mother duck will protect her ducklings and it is therefore best to leave them alone, as if she is scared she will fly off and desert her ducklings. If the mother and her ducklings are in your yard or pool also leave them alone; they will move off when they feel like it. Keep any dogs or cats away and if possible place a piece of wood or something similar over the edge of pool so that the ducklings can climb out.

If you do find any injured wildlife please contact Wildlife Victoria on 1300 WILDLIFE or take the animal to a local veterinary clinic.

Can you come out and catch a bird that is flying around in the shop/factory?

Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to come and catch flying birds in shops/factories. The easiest way to herd the bird out is to throw an old towel, blanket or jacket over it, pick it up in this material and take it outside, or by gently corralling it out with the bristle broom end. If the bird is injured it will need to be taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment.

There is a stray dog/cat on the street, will you come and collect it?

Unfortunately the RSPCA does not have the resources to pick up stray dogs and cats and we therefore advise you to contact your local council to attend to the matter. Some councils, however, will not collect animals unless they are contained either in box, on a lead, or if the animal is a dog, in a backyard. You may therefore be required to contain the animal. However, do not approach a dog if it is dangerous and instead call the council immediately. Be sure to notify the council if the dog has attacked any other animals and/or persons, as this is primarily a local laws matter. Alternatively, local veterinary clinics will also take stray animals and will attempt to find an owner before contacting the council.

It is a requirement of law that stray animals must enter local shelters/pounds to give owners an opportunity to find them. If you wish to keep an animal you may give your name to the local council ranger as an Interested Party, which means that in the event of no-one claiming it, you remain eligible to do so via the adoption process.

If you decide to keep the animal you must do everything within your power to find its original owner. This may include ringing local veterinary clinics, filing a report with the local council and shelters, and placing posters in local shopping centres and/or pet shops.

If the animal is injured, be especially careful if driving. Call your local shelter/council promptly as they have the equipment to deal with injured and distressed animals.

How do I change the details on my cat/dog’s microchip?

The first step is to obtain your animal’s microchip number. If you do not have this, please contact the veterinary clinic that implanted the microchip, as there could be five or more databases that the chip may be on. The veterinary clinic will then give you the microchip number, and the contact details for the microchip database. Most microchips can be updated online for a small fee, or you may call and provide the new details.

If you find that an animal you have adopted from someone or bought locally has a microchip, updating the details requires the signature of the previous owner (as well as your own) on a ‘change ownership detail’ form. If this is not possible, the next step is to obtain a statutory declaration form (either online or from a police station). Complete the statutory declaration, stating you are now the new owner, and provide your details for the microchip company to update.

In the unlikely event of your pet’s microchip details being incorrect, it is a worthwhile safeguard to ensure that your pet is wearing name tags and council tags so that you can be contacted if he/she does get lost.

What if I have lost my pet, but it has ID?

Even if your pet has a microchip, name-tag and council tags, it is still a good idea to call your local council, shelters and veterinary clinics and report it missing. A lot of people decide to keep animals they have found as they are under the false impression that if the local council picks them up, they will then be euthanised. Unfortunately, this can result in instances where animals are being found with new owners after initially going missing. It is also worth visiting local shelters as sometimes dogs/cats have their collars removed, and if your pet’s microchip is old it can be more difficult to detect.

Another good idea is to make up A5-sized ‘lost’ posters and place them in local shopping centres, pet shops, and veterinary clinics. The microchip company can also put an alert on the microchip database page, so that any person looking up the animal’s microchip details may find out the approximate length of time for which the animal has been missing.

If you think your animal has been stolen, it is also necessary to complete a police report.

I have lost my pet; does the RSPCA have it?

Please ring your local council. They can inform you of the nearest shelter/pound and whether any reports have been made of stray animals in your area. Once you have contacted your local shelter/pound, staff will be able to search their database for any animals admitted from your local area. Contacting local veterinary clinics is also a good idea, as they receive stray animals on a regular basis.

My cat didn’t come in for dinner last night; does the RSPCA have it?

Most cats return after 24 hours. We also advise knocking on doors in your neighbourhood as cats, being the inquisitive creatures they are, often get themselves locked in sheds, cars and other unlikely places. If you are still unable to find your cat, please contact the council, local veterinary clinics and shelters/pounds.

My neighbour’s dog is constantly barking, what can I do about it?

Unfortunately, barking dogs fall under the noise complaints category within local council laws and are not something our inspectors are empowered to deal with under relevant government legislature. You may contact the local council and put in a noise complaint. If you know of other neighbours bothered by the barking, encourage them to do likewise. The more calls the council receive, the more likely they are to take the issue seriously. The council will often ask complainants to keep a log of the time and duration that the dog is barking. The council ranger will then speak with the owner and offer some suggestions for stopping the noise.

If the animal has been abandoned or if there are other serious issues, this information can then be passed onto our inspectorate for investigation.

Why do I have to pay a reclaim fee to get my dog/cat out of the pound/shelter?

This is a fee that is set by the RSPCA and local councils due to the costs associated with looking after these animals; they are fed, housed, vet checked, vaccinated and medically treated, when necessary, under RSPCA and/or council care. This fee has to be paid and is non-negotiable.

What do I do if there are stray kittens/puppies in my yard or left at my front door? Can you come and get them?

Unfortunately the RSPCA does not have the resources to pick up stray dogs and cats. If the stray animals are contained in a box or similar, please call your local council as they will collect these animals. If the kittens/puppies cannot be caught, contact your local council to arrange a cat-trap cage to be delivered to your home. This will allow you to contain the animals, enabling them to be taken to your local shelter/pound.

There is an injured possum/bird/lizard in my yard, what can I do?

If the animal can be caught without injury to it or yourself, you can take it to your local veterinary clinic or shelter. If you are unable to contain the animal, please call Wildlife Victoria on 1300 WILDLIFE, who will send a carer out for collection. We do recommended, however, that you place something over the animal (such as a box or laundry basket) to ensure that the animal will still be there when the carer arrives.

There are lots of stray cats in my area, what can I do?

Stray animals are a local council issue, as unfortunately the RSPCA does not have the resources to collect them. Please contact your local council as most have stray cat trapping programs in place. If you find that your local council does not, look for pest control companies in the Yellow Pages as many of them make cat traps available for hire. Cats that are contained can be taken to a local veterinary clinic free of charge. Friendly, healthy animals will go through the adoptions process at the local shelter or returned to their owner if a microchip or other identification is found. Stray cats are a major problem and a threat to native wildlife and the domestic cat population. Therefore, it is best not to feed them as this will encourage them to stay in the area.

I have possums/birds living/nesting in my roof and guttering; what can I do?

Non-native birds nest in roofs and gutters and we therefore recommend that you contact a pest exterminator, as they can legally dispose of these birds and discourage them from re-nesting in the area.

If it is a possum nesting in your roof, a possum removalist will be required. They will insert a one-way door into the roof space (so the possum can leave the roof) and then fill the holes that the possums are using to get in. Legally, possums may only be moved 50 meters from where they are caught as they are very territorial. They cannot be relocated as it is an offence under the Wildlife Act to do this with a protected species. Victorian OH&S laws prevent our inspectors from going into restricted spaces such as roof areas, but handymen and pest removalists are licensed to do so.

I have found a dog locked in a car on a hot day; what can I do?

Unfortunately it is not an offence to lock a dog in a car until it is severely heat distressed. The best thing to do in this situation is to ring the police on 000 as they are the only party legally able to break an animal out of a vehicle. Please also take down the number plate of the vehicle in question; RSPCA Inspectors will send a warning letter to the owners of the animal, advising of the dangers of locking dogs in cars.

An aggressive and underfed dog roams my street; what should I do?

Aggressive dogs need to be reported to the local council as this is a local law issue. However, if you know where the dog lives and you have witnessed it not receiving food, water and/or shelter, or is injured and has not received veterinary treatment, you can also report this to the RSPCA Inspectors, who will investigate the case.

There is an animal on the freeway; what should I do?

Due to OH&S laws in Victoria, neither the RSPCA, the local council nor the local shelter/pound are legally able to remove animals off a major roadway. Therefore you must contact VIC ROADS on 13 11 70, as they are allowed to do so.

There is an animal stuck on the power lines; what should I do?

If you are in Victoria, the power company in the area has an emergency and faults number; this has to be called as the electricity has to be turned off in order to remove the animal. Due to extensive OH&S laws in Victoria they are the only party able to do this.

There are kittens in the local drain; what should I do?

Stray cats sometimes use the storm water drains for shelter from people and other animals. They are a local council issue. Therefore, if you find a stray cat coming onto your property you should be entitled to have a cat-trap delivered as part of the cat-trapping programs in place through councils.

If, however, your local council does not offer this service, cat-traps can be hired from pest companies (which you can find in the Yellow Pages) and cats that are caught can be taken to a local veterinary clinic, free of charge.

Unfortunately, stray cats and kittens are unable to be re-conditioned once they have become feral. Therefore, the most humane thing for the cat is for it to be euthanised, so that is it not at risk of being hit by a car, attacked by dogs or dying from disease.

Why are people allowed to trap my cat?

Cats are under the same local laws as dogs and are therefore not allowed to roam into other people’s property. Another person can therefore trap your cat on their own property and can then contact the council to collect the animal. As the owner, you then have to pay a reclaim fee through the local pound to reclaim your cat after it has been micro chipped and registered with the council. The council may also fine you for having an unregistered animal.

To stop this problem, your best option is to ensure that your cat is contained on your own property by locking it in at night, building a cat enclosure or installing cat-proof fencing to prevent your cat from escaping. This also assists in preventing your cat from potentially being hit by a car, getting into fights, contracting diseases and killing wildlife or native birds.

I have found a dead possum/cat/dog; what should I do?

If you have found a dead possum or any other marsupial the first thing to do is to check its pouch to make sure no babies are inside. If there are babies, do not remove them. Immediately call Wildlife Victoria on 1300 WILDLIFE, or take the body to a local veterinary clinic who will administer the correct treatment. If you have found a dead cat or dog in a public location contact your local council; they will collect the animal and take it to a local shelter to check the animal for ID in order to notify owners.

If the animal is found on your property the council will not collect it unless on crown land. This means that the animal either has to be relocated to a nature strip or wrapped in bags and taken to the local veterinary clinic, which will then check the animal for ID.

Any possums or birds that you find can be wrapped up and placed in your wheelie bin for garbage collection; unfortunately there is no collection service for these types of animals. Ensure you wear plastic gloves.

Someone has threatened to hurt/maim my animal; what should I do?

If someone has made a threat to kill or harm an animal this needs to be reported to the police. Our inspectorate can only become involved when an animal has been maimed or killed deliberately and has been witnessed by you, as we can only take first-hand witness accounts. Therefore, if you have been notified by another person, they must contact us themselves. If it is reported to police in the first instance our inspectorate can use this as evidence that this was a deliberate act on the part of the offender.

I’ve cleaned out my cupboards; what can I donate to the RSPCA?

As we have quite a few opportunity shops we can take a lot of items; including books, clothes, jewelry, pictures, household items, toys, etc. Larger items such as furniture can be taken but is best to firstly call the Op shop to find out if they have room for these items. In the shelters we use all types of linen & blankets, but not pillows. Our veterinary clinics can take bandages, syringes, drapes and any medical products that are past their use-by date from hospitals or similar organisations. If you have medications is best to firstly call and find out if they are suitable for use in our veterinary clinic setting.

Newspapers, leads, food, treats, scratching posts and animal toys are always welcome for all the animals in our care, however but we cannot use carpet (unless it is cut into smaller squares) as dogs love to rip this up along with pillows or mattresses.

If in doubt, please feel free to call us on 9224 2222; we will be able to advise you on what we can take at that time.