Inspectorate seized and surrendered animals at all-time high

Published on 6 March 2023

In the second quarter of the 2022-23 financial year, 695 animals were seized by or surrendered to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate, the highest number ever reported for any quarter on record.

The total annual number of animals seized by or surrendered to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate has risen significantly every year for the past five years. more than doubling from 1,035 in 2017-18 to 2,172 in 2021-22.

RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said animal cruelty exists across all geographic and social boundaries but in recent years there have been a number of contributing factors to the higher level of incoming Inspectorate seized and surrendered animals.

“In recent years the impact of COVID-19 and the rising cost of living may have contributed to the spiking numbers of Inspectorate seized and surrendered animals. Between 2020 and 2022 alone the number of seizures and surrenders rose by 38% (597 cases).

Data from the 2021/22 financial year shows neglect continues to be the most common type of report received. During the year RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate responded to 10,577 cruelty reports, with neglect the basis for almost half (46%), meaning members of the community had reported knowledge of animals subjected to lack of food, water, shelter or veterinary care. Other types of neglect included poor husbandry, lack of appropriate hygiene and insufficient grooming, shearing and farriery for horses.

“Our recently released online, RSPCA Victoria interactive cruelty map illustrates the rates of animal cruelty in local government areas and across the state.

“We acknowledge that in addition to the rising cost of living, which may impact the ability of some to care for their pets, many Victorians adopted pets during the pandemic, some as first-time pet owners who may still require information or support to help them understand how to best care for their animals. It is important all pet owners understand the specific needs of their pets in terms of food, water, shelter, grooming and exercise,” stated Mr Stagg.

RSPCA Victoria believes that prevention is best and wherever possible Inspectors support people to achieve good animal welfare but relies on the community to report animal cruelty. Anyone with concerns for the welfare of an animal can lodge an official cruelty report by calling (03) 9224-2222 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively reports can be lodged online via

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