Our Major Investigations Team (MIT) is a specialist team of Inspectors who investigate large-scale, organised and commercial animal cruelty.
The team was initially established to investigate intensive breeding establishments and illegal breeding facilities. It has since grown and evolved to investigate other areas of organised animal cruelty and to meet the increasing demand for information handling and sharing.
The team also works with an Intelligence Analyst who carries out research, gathers evidence and analyses animal cruelty data that comes to light online or via social media channels. The work also involves the broad collection and monitoring of online animal sales activity, in-depth exploration of relevant networks in the animal breeding and fighting communities and mapping of associations across networks of interest.
MIT operates across Victoria and works closely with external law enforcement agencies, including Victoria Police, state and local governments.
Types of organised animal cruelty investigated
Today, the team investigates:
- Animal fighting (including dog fighting and cockfighting)
- Puppy and kitten trade (that involves the commercial movement and trade of dogs and cats)
Investigating on a covert level
The team takes a proactive and intelligence-led approach to identify, investigate and disrupt animal cruelty.
Inspectors work together with an Intelligence Analyst to collect and analyse information and develop it into intelligence that can lead to full-scale investigations into organised cruelty and crime. These investigations are often large-scale and may involve several properties or interconnected networks of individuals. The complexity of these cases means that data gathering and effective investigation, planning and execution can be multi-faceted and time-consuming. When there’s sufficient evidence, Inspectors can move in to disrupt the activity, rescue and remove animals and prepare a criminal case for the prosecutions team.
These complex cases can take months or even years to gather enough evidence to bring a case to court.