Victoria’s animal cruelty hotspots revealed in new interactive map

Published on 1 December 2022

Plus three simple steps Victorians can take to help stamp out cruelty

rspcavic.org/interactive-cruelty-data-map/ RSPCA Victoria interactive cruelty map

News Grabs RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate Team Leader, Michelle Green

A brand new online, interactive map launched by RSPCA Victoria lets the community track rates of animal cruelty in their own local government area (LGA) and across the state, with the animal charity also releasing three simple steps Victorians can take to help stamp out cruelty.

The interactive animal cruelty map on the RSPCA Victoria website shows where LGAs rank for animal cruelty over the past two financial years, with Geelong and Casey holding the unfortunate top spots for overall number of reports received for the second year running. When it comes to number of cruelty reports per capita, Pyrenees and Strathbogie Shire Councils were in first and second place.

Latest 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.

RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said that by raising awareness of the most prevalent types of animal cruelty, the community can work together to do better for Victoria’s animals.

“For many, the perception of animal cruelty relates to deliberate acts such as beating or wounding, and while this does occur, the data consistently shows the most common form of cruelty is neglect. There are many responsible pet ownership resources available, and we encourage anyone who is the owner or person in charge of animals to be aware of their responsibilities to provide care, or alternatively to seek help from their local council, a veterinarian or animal welfare organisation.”

“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.

“If you are the owner or person in charge of an animal you have legal and moral obligations to that animal. RSPCA Victoria is committed to helping people better care for their pets however neglect is against the law and is never acceptable therefore we will hold people to account if they do not meet the required standards of care,” said Chief Inspector Stagg.

Three steps Victorians can take to help end animal cruelty

STEP 1 – If you have pets or are in charge of animals, make sure they provide them with:

  • Sufficient food
  • Access to clean water all the time
  • Adequate shelter
  • Clean, secure living space
  • Regular veterinary checks and prompt vet care if unwell or injured
  • Regular grooming (e.g. some breeds of dog and cat), dental checks and farrier visits for horses.

STEP 2 – If you are struggling to care for your animals don’t ignore the problem – reach out for help:

  • Speak with your vet about your options
  • Contact your local animal shelter or RSPCA Victoria
  • Consider surrendering your pet to an animal shelter so it can receive proper care and be rehomed.

STEP 3 – If you are concerned about animal cruelty:

  • Report it to RSPCA Victoria by phoning (03) 9224 2222 – line is open 24/7
  • Visit www.rspcavic.org and make an online report

Animal cruelty data from RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate for 2021-22

Reports by local government area – Rankings by number of reports
2021-22 ranking 2021-22 reports Local government area 2020-21

ranking

2020-21

reports

1 552 Greater Geelong City Council 1 640
2 531 Casey City Council 2 577
3 379 Wyndham City Council 4 348
4 364 Hume City Council 3 386
5 340 Whittlesea City Council 5 343
6 311 Mornington Peninsula Shire Council 6 340
7 311 Yarra Ranges Shire Council 11 288
8 288 Melton Shire Council 7 320
9 282 Frankston City Council 12 283
10 282 City of Greater Bendigo 9 305

Notes: The LGA’s that featured in 2020-21 and dropped below the top ten rankings by report in 2021-22

 – Latrobe City Council and Cardinia Shire Council.

Reports by local government area – Rankings by reports per capita
2021-22 ranking 2021-22 Per capita Local government area
1 163 Pyrenees Shire Council
2 191 Strathbogie Shire Council
3 211 Central Goldfields Shire Council
4 234 Yarriambiack Shire Council
5 236 West Wimmera Shire Council
6 238 Mitchell Shire Council
7 244 Hepburn Shire Council
8 252 Corangamite Shire Council
9 287 Rural City of Wangaratta
10 287 Latrobe City Council

        Note: LGAs that featured in 2020-21 and dropped below the top ten rankings by reports per capita in

        2021-22 – Buloke Shire Council and Loddon Shire Council

 

Reported concerns 21/22 20/21
Instances of animals with insufficient food, water or shelter 4,908 5,520
Concerns about hygiene, grooming and housing conditions 4,261 4,149
Reports relating to underweight animals 2,585 2,636
Sick and injured animals not receiving veterinary treatment 2,347 2,565
Concerns about animals being beaten, wounded or abused 1,596 1,702
Instances of abandoned animals 1,275 1,163

Note: Many of the reports received by RSPCA Victoria in 2021-22 included allegations of multiple

         offences involving multiple animals, hence the total number of offences exceeds the 10,577 reports.   

 

Animals most commonly reported

Welfare concerns for dogs, cats and horses continued to make up the majority of the 10,577 cruelty reports in 2021-22:

·       6,846 reports involved dogs and puppies

·       1922 reports involved cats and kittens

·       1,070 reports involved horses

Offences in the 2021-22 reports

In 2021-22, RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate issued 287 notices to comply, finalised 74 prosecutions, resulting in 68 guilty findings and 46 disqualification orders.

For further details regarding cruelty statistics for a specific council area, please contact RSPCA Victoria’s Media Team.

About RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate

RSPCA Victoria has 29 Inspectors authorised to enforce Victoria’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA). Other authorised organisations are the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions; the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Parks Victoria; Victoria Police, Greyhound Racing Victoria and many local councils.

RSPCA Victoria investigates reports of animal cruelty involving companion animals (including horses), livestock in herds of less than 10 and poultry in flocks of less than 50. Reports involving larger herds of livestock or wildlife are referred to other agencies for investigation.

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