Victoria’s animal cruelty hot spots revealed

Published on 5 September 2023

The number of animals seized by or surrendered to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate has increased for the sixth year in a row.

The 2022/23 financial year saw a nearly 20 per cent increase from the previous year in the number of animals coming in, continuing the strain on RSPCA Victoria’s resources.

Speaking about the annual figures, RSPCA Victoria’s Chief Inspector, Michael Stagg, said the continued increase was a worrying trend.

“In the last 12 months, our Inspectors have investigated more than 10,000 reports of animal cruelty and seized or took the surrender of 2,569 animals across the state,” Chief Inspector Stagg said.

“During this time, we’ve also had several investigations resulting in large-scale seizures or surrenders of animals, forcing our teams to find room and resources to care for them in a short space of time.”

“When we prosecute cases of animal cruelty, our shelter teams may need to care for the animals involved as the court cases progress, sometimes lasting months or years, adding to the pressure already faced by our near-capacity shelters.”

RSPCA Victoria forecasts the number of animals coming into its care via the Inspectorate will reach more than 3,340 by 2027 – a 222.7% increase from 2017/18.

Chief Inspector Stagg explained some of the factors contributing to this increase.

“Cost of living pressures may be impacting people’s ability to care for their pets, whether it be their ability to provide suitable food or their ability to pay for necessary veterinary care,” Chief Inspector Stagg said.

“Many people also became first-time pet owners during the pandemic and may need further information or support to help them understand how to care for their animals such as providing sanitary living conditions, grooming or preventative health measures.”

The most common type of cruelty report concerned insufficient water, food, or shelter. Husbandry concerns were also reported (e.g. unsanitary living conditions, infrequent or no visits from farriers or shearers).

About RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate:

RSPCA Victoria Inspectors are on the frontline 24/7, rescuing and protecting animals from cruelty and neglect, and helping those lost or in dangerous situations.

RSPCA Victoria is the only not-for-profit agency with the power to enforce legislation under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA) and Part 4 of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (DAA). These pieces of legislation govern the circumstances where our inspectors can investigate or intervene.

In the 2022/2023 financial year, it cost over $9 million to operate the RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate. This includes legal costs, caring for rescued animals and undertaking large-scale operations.

The RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate is grateful for the $2.3M in support from the Victorian Government however, it also relies on funding from the generous community through donations, fundraising and events to cover the $6.7M shortfall. Your donation supports the Inspectorate to continue to help as many animals as possible.

Learn more about RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate here.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of an animal or suspicious animal sales is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria on 03 9224 2222 or submit a report at rspcavic.org/tip-off-form/ immediately.

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