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Attributed to Mhairi Roberts, Policy and Advocacy Manager, RSPCA Victoria
RSPCA Victoria acknowledges that in some circumstances it is necessary to manage populations of wild animals, native or introduced. However, any management measures undertaken must recognise that whether an animal is native, introduced or viewed as a ‘pest’ does not affect its capacity to experience pain, suffering or distress.
Feral horses are not a natural part of the Australian ecosystem and can cause severe damage to alpine and sub-alpine environments, including the destruction of habitat critical to many native wildlife and plant species. A comprehensive aerial survey across the Australian Alps in late-2019 found a significant increase in feral horse numbers, 2 to 3 times higher than in the previous survey (estimates rising from 9,000 to 24,000 horses over five years).
The 2019-20 bushfires caused major losses of high-country native wildlife, native plants and habitats which is why management of the impacts introduced animals are having on these ecosystems is now critical.
Any management of introduced species should only be undertaken if it is likely that the aims of the program can be achieved. The methods used must be humane, target-specific and effective.
Based on the evidence of the impact feral horses are having in the Victorian Alps and the relative humaneness of ground shooting (1) RSPCA Victoria supports lethal ground control, using professional shooters with appropriate independent audits, in conjunction with non-lethal control measures such as exclosure fencing.
RSPCA Victoria has launched COVID-19: Animal crisis appeal - asking those who are financially able to donate so that much needed care for vulnerable animals can continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the spread of COVID-19, RSPCA Victoria still must provide care for thousands of animals. As the state shuts down and more people enter a period of quarantine, the animal welfare organisation is expecting the number of animals in care to continue to rise.
RSPCA Victoria is anticipating a multi-million dollar shortfall in revenue due the impacts of coronavirus over the next few months which has the potential to significantly impact the animal welfare charity’s ability to care for vulnerable animals during this time.
The crisis has already impacted RSPCA Victoria’s usual operations, with lasting ramifications expected. The need for community support has never been more important due to multiple changes and cancellations resulting in loss of income, including:
· Cancellation of the public event for Million Paws Walk
· Closure of all 13 Victorian op shops
· Loss of corporate sponsors who are themselves struggling
· Reduction in private vet appointments
· Reduction in grooming services
· Cancellation of the school holidays program and education short courses
· Reduction in number of volunteers
· Reduction in number of donors.
Dr Liz Walker, CEO, RSPCA Victoria said the appeal is not directed at those in the community who have lost work or income.
“We realise that times are tough for many in our community right now and our thoughts are with those people and their families. However, we’re hoping those in a position to donate might consider helping vulnerable animals during this difficult time. Unfortunately, animal cruelty does not stop and neither does our work,” says Dr Walker.
“Over the past few weeks, our staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to find the perfect home for as many of our animals as possible. Everything we are doing is to reduce the number of animals that remain in the shelters if a full lockdown is enforced.
“As a result, we've been
able to place 406 animals in either permanent or
temporary foster homes in the past week alone. Many of our employees and
volunteers have worked the longest hours of their careers to make this happen.
“Yet we're facing the possibility of having more than 1,600 animals in care if a lockdown occurs, and they'll have to stay for multiple months, putting a real strain on our resources – particularly when other forms of revenue are expected to significantly decrease.”
RSPCA Victoria Inspectors will continue working to save animals from cruelty and neglect, in turn bringing more animals into the shelters requiring ongoing care for an extended period.
More than 20,000 animals annually rely on RSPCA Victoria to provide vital animal care services.
Donations to RSPCA Victoria’s COVID-19: Animal crisis appeal can be made via www.rspcavic.org/covid
RSPCA Victoria is aware of the need for dog owners to keep their beloved pooches stimulated during this time of lock downs and uncertainty. Self isolation and quarantine provide challenges for regular exercise regimes however there are creative ways to ensure your dog is exercised and happy within these constraints.
“Our relationship with dogs will become even more important as we deal with the coronavirus and the long-lasting implications it may have for Australians. During this period of isolation, pets can provide an antidote to loneliness and provide important and comforting companionship for many people,” says RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker.
“If you are in quarantine or self isolation, I recommend providing enrichment and exercising your dog from the comfort of your own home by playing games that keep their minds and body stimulated. These include hide and seek using food or toys, agility courses using furniture or scent work. Scent work involves dogs using their noses to sniff out treats which releases dopamine and keeps them physically moving. You could even use this to replace normal feeding times.”
The psychological and physical health benefits of caring for pets has been well documented. Research has shown that pet owners have higher self-esteem, less depression and more resilience to cope with grief and stress. Additionally, pet owners have increased cardiovascular health.
“Pets are excellent caregivers who keep us company when we’re sick or feeling low. They bring joy and happiness and can make us feel safe while we’re home alone.”
With school holidays upon us and families now under one roof for longer periods of time than normal, outdoor exercise is still an important part of overall wellbeing.
“For people who aren’t in quarantine or self isolation and, importantly, who are not displaying any symptoms of coronavirus, taking your dog for a walk while maintaining social distance from others is still advised. It’s an ideal way to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated as well as having some much-needed exercise and stress relief yourself,” says Dr Liz Walker.
If you don’t already have a companion animal, adoptions remain open at RSPCA Victoria and now is an ideal time for people considering adopting a new member of the family. The ‘Pawfect Companion’ campaign aims to see dogs as well as cats, rabbits and guinea pigs find their forever home over the coming weeks, as more people take advantage of unplanned time in their homes.
“Adopting an animal is a significant commitment. Not only is it a great time to help your pet settle into their new home, it’s an opportunity to spend quality time with them and dedicate time to training and bonding exercises,” says RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker.
“If you’ve been thinking about welcoming a pet into your life, now is a good time consider adopting from RSPCA Victoria. Please note that bookings are essential at this time to manage staff and customer wellbeing and safety. As usual, all the animals we have available for adoption can be viewed on our website: www.rspcavic.org”.
All animals adopted from the RSPCA come microchipped, desexed and
vet and behaviour checked. Usual adoption processes apply to ensure all animals
go to the best lifelong homes as possible. In the interests of everybody’s
health and safety, RSPCA Victoria is asking members of the public to respect
quarantine and hygiene protocols and be mindful of social distancing
instructions when visiting its sites.
People interested in adopting a pet at this time MUST telephone their local RSPCA to make an appointment first:
RSPCA Burwood East 3 Burwood Hwy Burwood East VIC 3151 P: (03) 9224 2222
RSPCA Epping Animal Welfare Facility 20 Companion
Place (formerly Pound Rd) Epping VIC 3076 P: (03) 8401 6600
RSPCA Peninsula 1030 Robinsons Rd Pearcedale VIC 3912 P: (03) 5978 9000
RSPCA Portland 185 Darts Road Portland VIC 3305 P: (03) 5523 4690
RSPCA Wangaratta 1 Connell Street Wangaratta VIC 3677 P: (03) 5722 8744
RSPCA Warrnambool 23 Braithwaite Street Warrnambool VIC 3280 P: (03) 5561 2591
RSPCA Victoria remains committed to helping Victorians and their animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and has announced some changes to its operations to protect the health and safety of its customers, animals and staff.
In the interests of everybody’s health and safety, RSPCA Victoria is asking members of the public to respect quarantine and hygiene protocols and be mindful of social distancing instructions when visiting its sites.
When considering the implications of COVID-19 and its effects on RSPCA Victoria, Dr Liz Walker, CEO, RSPCA Victoria emphasises that the organisation will continue as normal in the fight to end animal cruelty.
“While we continue our efforts to find new forever homes for the many domestic pets in our care, we are changing the way some of our services will run.
“We’re still open for business, but we’re adapting the way we do things to manage both staff and customer wellbeing and safety. That includes the introduction of bookings that allow potential adopters to make an appointment prior to coming into our shelters,” said Dr Walker.
“Some of our regional centres may appear shut as we are changing access for the public, but rest assured we are still open for business. We encourage interested adopters to call their local shelter ahead of time to make a booking.
“And as usual, all the animals we have available for adoption can be viewed on our website,” said Dr Walker.
Current RSPCA services
From Monday 23 March RSPCA Victoria is operating as follows and thanks the community for understanding and patience during this time:
Animal cruelty reports and our Inspectorate
Inspectors are continuing to investigate animal cruelty reports while taking care to adhere to strict health, safety and social distancing guidelines. Cruelty reports can be made via the normal channels online here Submit an online animal cruelty report or if an animal’s life is at immediate risk, call (03) 9224 2222 so an Inspector can be notified right away.
People interested in adopting a pet (and its great time to do it!) are asked to telephone their local RSPCA to make an appointment first:
RSPCA Burwood East 3 Burwood Hwy Burwood East VIC 3151 P: (03) 9224 2222
RSPCA Epping Animal Welfare Facility 20 Companion Place (formerly Pound Rd) Epping, VIC 3076 P: (03) 8401 6600
RSPCA Peninsula 1030 Robinsons Rd Pearcedale VIC 3912 P: (03) 5978 9000
RSPCA Portland 185 Darts Road Portland VIC 3305 P: (03) 5523 4690 RSPCA Wangaratta 1 Connell Street Wangaratta VIC 3677 P: (03) 5722 8744
RSPCA Warrnambool 23 Braithwaite Street Warrnambool VIC 3280 P: (03) 5561 2591
RSPCA Victoria vet nurses are currently triaging calls for the clinics at Burwood and Pearcedale. Due to Social distancing requirements, instead of face-to-face appointments, nurses will collect patients upon arrival and veterinarians will consult with owners over the telephone. People are being asked to delay non-essential appointments at clinics in order to prioritise animals that require emergency or welfare care. Contactless payments are encouraged.
RSPCA Burwood East Vet Clinic – phone (03) 9224 2222
RSPCA Pearcedale Vet Clinic – phone (03) 5978 9000
If a pet needs emergency care outside of opening hours a list of animal emergency centres can be found on the website.
RSPCA Victoria’s Foster program is now more important than and the organisation is inundated with enquiries from people wanting to help. RSPCA Victoria is working to respond to applications as soon as possible and thanks people for their patience while the foster care team works through queries.
For anyone who would like to become a foster carer, the best approach is to register interest online and a member of the foster care team will be in touch.
RSPCA Victoria’s grooming facility at Burwood East is prioritising essential grooming along with emergency and welfare appointments. Non-essential grooming, such as bathing that can safely be done at home, will not be prioritised. To contact the grooming service please phone (03) 9224 2222.
People are asked to contact RSPCA Victoria by telephone to discuss reclaiming an animal before coming into one of the centres.
Visit the online store for all pet supply needs. While the physical stores are currently open, RSPCA Victoria is asking our customers to visit the online store wherever possible.
There is currently limited capacity to accept surrendered animals and therefore situations are being assessed on a case-by-case basis. Members of the public are asked to telephone before coming into an RSPCA Victoria centres to allow for staff to assess the capacity to assist.
For all other enquiries, people are asked to call (03) 9224 2222.
RSPCA Victoria is encouraging people to find their ‘Pawfect Companion’ as an increasing number of Victorians spend more time at home due to a shift in their usual routines. With changing working arrangements, the cancellation of events and the upcoming school holidays, now is the ‘pawfect’ time to welcome a new pet into the family.
The ‘Pawfect Companion’ campaign aims to see cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs find their forever home over the coming weeks, as more people take advantage of unplanned time in their homes.
“Adopting an animal is a significant commitment. Not only is it a great time to help your pet settle into their new home, it’s an opportunity to spend quality time with them and dedicate time to training and bonding exercises,” says RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker.
“The research tells us that owning a pet has a huge number of benefits for our emotional wellbeing. For many people, including families, children and those on their own, pets will be a significant source of companionship and comfort over the coming months.
“If you’ve been thinking about welcoming a pet into your life, now is a good time consider adopting from RSPCA Victoria.”
When considering the implications of COVID-19 and its effects on RSPCA Victoria, Dr Walker emphasises that the organisation will continue as normal in the fight to end animal cruelty.
“We’re still open for business, but we’re adapting the way we do things to manage both staff and customer wellbeing and safety. That includes the introduction of bookings that allow potential adopters to make an appointment prior to coming into our shelters,” says Dr Walker.
“While we’ve suspended a number of our education programs, we are working on alternate ways we can stay connected with the community such as providing online animal care and training resources. We’re also putting together resources for children to keep them entertained and learning about animal wellbeing while they spend time at home over the school holidays.
“While we are living in uncertain times, our frontline staff continue to care for animals, our Inspectors continue to investigate acts of cruelty and our vet clinics continue to treat the sick and injured. Any support during this time from the community is greatly appreciated by us and will really help the animals in our care.”
All animals adopted from the RSPCA come microchipped, desexed and vet and behaviour checked. Usual adoption processes apply to ensure all animals go to the best lifelong homes as possible.
Interested adopters can make a booking at all RSPCA shelters by calling 03 9224 2222. Bookings will be first available from Sunday, 22 March.
RSPCA has adapted its much-loved national dog walking event by launching Million Paws Walk: Walk This May. In response to ongoing developments of COVID-19, RSPCA will no longer hold a public event on Sunday 17 May, but instead, a revised event format will see dog owners hit the pavement in their own neighbourhoods and backyards, responsibly walking to fight animal cruelty in May.
Million Paws Walk: Walk this May will celebrate a mutual love of animals while keeping dogs and walkers safe and healthy by cancelling planned community events around the country. Instead, participants are encouraged to don their workout gear, grab the leash and walk their four-legged friends with purpose in their own backyards. The new format encourages people to spend time with their dogs while still providing a pathway for participants to contribute to animal welfare and support RSPCA Victoria’s vital work to end animal cruelty.
RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker hopes participants still see the value in joining a community event that allows social distancing while continuing to fundraise for animals in need where possible.
“Million Paws Walk is my favourite event of the year and while the revised format means we can’t physically bring people together, we can still connect them through a shared love of dogs,” says Dr Walker.
“Dogs have an incredible ability to provide unspoken support. I think our pets will provide much comfort over the coming months, so Million Paws Walk: Walk this May is an opportunity for owners to give back to them, and all animal-kind, in return.”
Participants are encouraged to record all their dog walks using the new ‘Pawdometre’ on the Million Paws Walk website, as well as fundraise in the lead up to the event. Money raised from online fundraising and merchandise sales will be used to support RSPCA Victoria’s work within the community, including caring for more than 20,000 animals that come through its shelters each year.
The day will be tied together using the hashtag #MillionPawsWalk and #MPWDOGSQUAD so all walkers can connect and share photos of their dogs and walk routes on social media.
Tim Campbell who has hosted the regular Melbourne walk at Albert Park for 12 years running urges Victorians to jump on board, despite the change in format.
“I’ve had such high respect for what RSPCA does and stands for since I was a child. And I’m committed to show my support this May – even if I’m talking Oscar on walks around my neighbourhood and sharing the page!” he said.
Those who have already purchased tickets are encouraged to have their ticket cost transferred to a tax-deductable donation, however those requesting a refund can contact RSPCA Victoria directly to arrange this.
Individuals can go online to keep up-to-date with the latest information, sign-up for Million Paws Walk: Walk This May, purchase merchandise and start fundraising today.
Details on the website at www.millionpawswalk.com.au
RSPCA Victoria is grateful for the following sponsor support of the Million Paws Walk:
- Hill’s Pet Nutrition, National Nutrition Sponsor of the RSPCA and the Million Paws Walk
- Hush Puppies, Victoria Premier Sponsor
- Advocate, Victoria Supporting Sponsor.
Profound disappointment in duck hunting season announcement Victorian Government urged to reconsider
RSPCA Victoria is profoundly disappointed that a 2020 duck hunting season has been announced by the Victorian Government and urges it to reconsider the decision based on unprecedented environmental concerns.
Today’s announcement of a modified season came after RSPCA Victoria and other organisations strongly recommended a cancellation in December 2019.
Reasons for recommending the cancellation included current and forecasted hot and dry climatic conditions, drought conditions in NSW and Queensland and lack of available water which caused a significant decline in available habitat for waterbirds and impacted on their breeding and sustainability.
RSPCA Victoria’s CEO, Dr Liz Walker, said cancelling the season would have been the best decision to support the sustainability of waterbird populations, particularly considering the full impact of the bushfires on wildlife is not yet fully understood but has the potential to be significant.
“We have continued to be concerned by the data provided in the Aerial Survey of Wetland Birds in Eastern Australia year on year, which demonstrates the dire conditions that the wetland birds are facing including the compelling evidence of longer term declines in game bird abundance,” said Dr Walker.
“This year we have the added consideration of ongoing bushfires impacting Victoria’s birdlife. We believe our already stressed waterbird populations will be adversely affected, even with a modified season.”
Dr Walker said the decision to approve a duck season was disappointing given that public concern for protecting wildlife has increased significantly since the bushfires.
“The recent Public Attitudes to Bushfire Fundraising* report reveals very strong public concern for native animals, and a desire to rescue, treat and protect those animals, so approving a duck shooting season seems out of step with public sentiment at the moment,” she said.
“The current level of public concern for native animals is illustrated by the fact that animal charities and causes received the largest proportion of bushfire donations.”
In addition to the unprecedented environmental reasons for cancellation, RSPCA Victoria also raised long-held concerns regarding the inherent cruelty, pain and suffering of hundreds of thousands of ducks that are killed or wounded during the annual open season.
Duck hunting using a shotgun causes inevitable pain and suffering as not every bird is killed outright. The GMA reported a harvest figure of 238,666 for the 2019 duck hunting season. So based on this data, and using a conservative wounding rate figure of 10%, this would mean that nearly 24,000 ducks were wounded and left to suffer during the 2019 season.
RSPCA Victoria is now calling on the Victorian Government to review its policy on duck hunting. Duck hunting is banned in all states and territories except for Victoria and South Australia. Duck hunting also has low community support with 61% of Victorians opposed to hunting.
RSPCA Victoria acknowledges the release of Parks Victoria’s Strategic Plan to protect the Ramsar wetland site and floodplain marshes at Barmah National Park in northern Victoria.
RSPCA Victoria made a submission as part of the public consultation phase and has been consulting with Parks Victoria over the last few years regarding management of animals in the park.
There are compelling conservation reasons for controlling introduced species within the park. RSPCA Victoria supports a proactive approach to protect the natural environment and the internationally significant wetlands, so that native animals and plants can thrive there.
RSPCA Victoria has consistently emphasised that the management of the feral horses and other introduced species at Barmah should be done in a way that is humane, justified, target-specific and effective.
We recognise that the management of horses in the park is a contentious issue and are pleased that the Strategic Action Plan includes options for rehoming where possible.
RSPCA Victoria will continue to monitor the situation and consult with Parks Victoria to ensure that the management of horses and other introduced species under the Strategic Action Plan is justified, humane and effective to prevent the suffering of animals.
The RSPCA has three days to find loving homes for as many animals as possible as Clear the Shelter kicks off this Friday 21st, running through to Sunday 23rd February. During the three days, adoption fees for all creatures great and small will be reduced to $29[i] to encourage those thinking about adoption to finally take the plunge.
In Victoria, Clear the Shelter is running at all RSPCA Victoria locations and participating Petbarn stores. Last year, Clear the Shelter saw 531 dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs adopted into new homes across the state.
The Greyhound Adoption Program will also bring 25 dogs into RSPCA’s Burwood East shelter for adoption and there will be a strong presence from three Victorian rescue groups – Greyt Greys, Cocker Rescue and Bullterrier Rescue.
RSPCA Victoria CEO, Dr Liz Walker, said Clear the Shelter is an opportunity to promote adoption as the ideal way to welcome a pet into people’s lives.
“We have over 10,00 animals available for adoption each year. They all need someone to care for them and give them a second chance for a happy, healthy life. Clear the Shelter encourages people who are considering bringing a new pet into their home, to adopt rather than shop,” said Dr Walker.
“The reduced adoption fees aim to encourage people into our shelters to meet our animals. From there, all of our usual adoption processes apply, meaning our staff will be working very hard all weekend to ensure every animal goes to a perfectly suited, lifelong home.
“We monitor reduced adoption promotions carefully and have found that the price someone pays to acquire an animal has no impact on return rates and no negative impact on the animal’s welfare - this is supported by all available data[ii].”
“Our usual adoption prices only cover a fraction of the cost it takes to get an animal ready for adoption. While the $29 adoption fee certainly does capture attention, we firmly believe you cannot put a price on finding forever homes for animals. Promotions like Clear the Shelter are essential to help us appropriately rehome as many pets as possible.”
RSPCA Victoria currently has 344 available for adoption. More animals will become available over the weekend as their quarantine periods and vet checks are completed. Everything from dogs, cats, kittens, rabbits and guinea pigs will be looking for their purrfect homes. A raincheck voucher will be available for those who may miss out on the day.
All adoption animals are desexed, microchipped, vaccinated, health and behaviour checked.
[i] $29 adoption fee excludes livestock, ponies and horses. Please contact your local shelter for any restrictions.
|SECTION 13 - POCTAA 1986 |
|Keep, use or assist in the management of premises for the purpose of causing an animal to fight||2 years / 500 penalty units ($82,610.00 at 1 July 2019)|
| Allow or encourage an animal to fight with another animal||2 years / 500 penalty units ($82,610.00 at 1 July 2019)|
|Attend an event at which an animal is allowed or encouraged to fight with another animal||120 penalty units |
($19,826.00 at 1 July 2019)
| REGULATION 9 - POCTA Regulations 2019|
| A person must not possess a cockfighting implement|
*implement includes drugs or other performance enhancing items, as well as spurs and rings.
|20 penalty units ($3,304.40)|
Here at RSPCA Victoria we are distressed and very concerned about the incident reportedly involving koalas at Cape Bridgewater. It’s another blow to the incredible species already suffering devastation due to the fires across the country.
RSPCA Victoria will of course provide support if needed, however the matter is being addressed by Victoria’s lead wildlife agency DELWP. Alongside the Conservation Regulator, DELWP is currently investigating the incident and is responsible for ensuring the remaining koalas are adequately cared for. Wildlife assessment and triage is being undertaken by qualified vets and plans are being made to relocate remaining animals.
Members of the public who see wildlife appearing to be
injured or distressed as a result of this incident at Portland should call ?1300 356 687.
You can find more information here: https://bit.ly/2UhLRCc
RSPCA Victoria is calling all animal owners affected by the bushfires and agencies needing assistance with animal care needs to reach out in the wake of bushfires devastating the state.
A dedicated bushfire hotline will be available seven days a week for people to contact RSPCA Victoria about their pets, horses and hobby farm animals who have been affected by the fires.
Acting CEO Tegan McPherson said that the organisation will take the lead on pet welfare, while supporting other agencies to continue their work with commercial livestock and wildlife.
“These fires have had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on the welfare of pets, wildlife and livestock in Victoria,” said Ms McPherson.
“We are continuing to gather data about where we are most needed. So, if Victorians need help with their animals we encourage them to call our hotline so that we can provide assistance.
“Whether it’s food, water, shelter, property visits or basic pet care supplies like collars and leads to get you back on your feet, we are here for the pets and people of Victoria – now and in the months to come.”
RSPCA Victoria is currently working on an agile model of support including:
In the future RSPCA Victoria will also work to improve emergency infrastructure, run education programs to support recovery and will continue to work with other agencies as per our role in the Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan.
The relief and recovery effort will be made possible by donations made to RSPCA Victoria’s Bushfire Appeal.
“We are in awe of the support we have received from the community. So far, we have supported evacuees at relief centres, provided transport and shelter for affected pets and deployed our Mobile Animal Care Unit to triage over 70 injured wildlife in East Gippsland,” said Ms McPherson.
“We are now planning how we will use the remaining funds to support animal welfare in affected communities during the recovery phase. Providing immediate support to people and animals in need is our first step.”
Those who need support with their animals can contact the RSPCA Victoria bushfire support line on 03 9224 2222 or fill out the contact form here: https://rspcavic.org/services/emergency-assistance/bushfire-assistance-request.
RSPCA Victoria has been part of the immediate response to the bushfire emergency and is now looking into other ways to support affected communities in what will be a long recovery phase.
We are grateful to all the individuals and organisations that have donated funds and goods to the special Bushfire Appeal we launched on 7 January.
The appeal funds have been vital for our emergency response, which has so far included supporting evacuees at relief centres, transporting and providing shelter for affected animals and deploying our Mobile Animal Care unit to treat injured wildlife.
We are now starting to plan how we will use the remaining funds to support animal welfare in affected communities during the recovery phase. This planning is in the early stages, and as access to the fire grounds increases, we will be able to better assess where resources are needed.
One of the top priorities we have already identified is making animal care more affordable and accessible during the recovery phase.
We’re letting the community know that people needing assistance with their animals as a result of the bushfires can contact our support centre seven days a week on (03) 9224 2222.
We are particularly focused on supporting domestic animal owners, horse owners and hobby farms in ways such as:
We also seek to increase our emergency infrastructure so we can respond more rapidly and effectively in disasters and other emergency situations into the future. Furthermore, as communities become more settled, we anticipate that our Education team will run programs to support their recovery, as they did after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
We continue to work with other state and animal welfare agencies - as per our role in the Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan - and will keep our supporters informed as our plans develop.
RSPCA Victoria is deeply saddened by the devastation and suffering caused by bushfires around Australia and is actively working to support the response to the catastrophic fires in Victoria.
CEO Dr Liz Walker said the organisation is working with other agencies to support affected animals and people as part of the Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Action Plan (VEAWP).
“Our thoughts and condolences are with the people and animals – including beloved pets, wildlife and livestock - affected by these terrible bushfires,” said Dr Walker.
RSPCA Victoria has emergency supplies and Inspectors, veterinarians, nurses and animal attendants on standby and ready to enter the firegrounds once it is safe and accessible.
“We are here to support animals and communities and are working with other agencies to ensure we provide as much assistance as possible, both in this initial emergency phase and for the longer-term recovery.
“Over the past week we have done a lot of preparatory work so that our people can enter the firegrounds when it is safe to do so. So far, we have also:
· Deployed our Mobile Animal Care Unit (MAC) to Bairnsdale to assist with the triage and care of injured wildlife
· Assisted with the evacuation of more than 1000 people and 120 animals from Mallacoota aboard Navy ships, with our Inspectors on hand to assist with the safe transport of animals and hand out vital equipment like leads
· Provided emergency boarding for pets while their owners make arrangements
· Made an initial delivery of pet supplies to bushfire relief centres
· Reached out to local councils to offer support such as welfare boarding and pet supplies.”
Dr Walker said the organisation decided to launch a dedicated bushfire appeal today after being inundated with donations and offers of support.
“We’re so grateful to all the people and organisations who have made donations to help with our bushfire response and who have offered to donate goods or volunteer their time,” she said.
“Today we launched an official bushfire appeal – all funds raised will help us care for affected animals during the emergency bushfire response phase and also help with our long-term work supporting animal welfare in the recovery phase.”
To donate to the RSPCA Victoria Bushfire Appeal and get the latest information on the response to the fires visit www.rspcavic.org/bushfire-appeal.
To report stray or injured livestock
Any livestock injuries need to be reported to Agriculture Victoria by dialling 1800 226 226 and selecting option "0" and then "4" to speak to an operator to arrange for animal health staff to visit and assess livestock.
To report stray or injured wildlife?
To report sick or injured native animals, offer assistance as a wildlife carer or ask questions relating to wildlife, call the DELWP Wildlife emergency number on 136 186 or email email@example.com
While all support is greatly appreciated, at the moment RSPCA Victoria is unable to accept donated goods due to the time involved with processing which will be better used helping impacted communities in other ways.
Fodder to donate
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is leading the drive to provide fodder to affected farmers and is establishing depots where fodder can be delivered and collected. Those who would like to donate fodder should contact the VFF on 1300 882 833 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips for preparing for an emergency
Go to RSPCA’s Knowledge Base - https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-preparations-should-i-make-for-my-pets-in-case-of-an-emergency/
Our thoughts are with all those affected by the terrible fires in Victoria and New South Wales, and our condolences go to those who have lost loved ones or homes.
RSPCA Victoria is on standby to help support affected people and animals. We have been working with Zoos Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to coordinate a response. We are currently preparing our Mobile Animal Clinic (MAC) to assist with triaging injured wildlife in Gippsland. We will also be working with councils in the area to provide assistance in the form of emergency welfare boarding for pets.
We continue to monitor the situation and are ready to support the Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan as directed by Agriculture Victoria and DELWP.
RSPCA Victoria welcomes the introduction of amendments to the Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds first announced in April 2018.
Commencing today, the refreshed code outlines new welfare standards that cover the lifespan of a greyhound from breeding and whelping through to training, racing, retirement and rehoming.
RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker commended the raft of changes, saying that it was a step in the right direction for the welfare of racing greyhounds in Victoria
“This is the first time the code will address the full lifecycle of a greyhound, from birth to retirement. It’s a key step in addressing the welfare issues still present in the industry,” says Dr Walker.
“We are pleased to see new requirements for exercise, socialisation and enrichment. Owners will now be required to prepare a greyhound for retirement or rehoming, and there are substantial new requirements for health checks, breeding and rearing.”
The new code was developed with input from government agencies, the greyhound racing industry, representative bodies and animal welfare groups including RSPCA Victoria.
“Overall, the revised code is a welcomed and necessary development in the future regulation of the Victorian greyhound racing industry. We hope that the key measures proposed in the code are maintained to ensure greyhound welfare into the future,” says Dr Walker.
RSPCA Victoria is urging people to consider their pets during the upcoming summer
celebrations, as the firework season kicks off in the lead up to New Year’s Eve.
CEO Dr Liz Walker says that while fireworks are enjoyable to watch, they often cause
panic, fear and distress in animals and results in an increase of animals at RSPCA
“Firework displays can be an unfamiliar and confronting experience for our pets,
triggering a fearful reaction,” says Dr Walker.
“Unfortunately, some animals express fear by being destructive, running away from
home, or exhibiting anxious behaviours such as cowering drooling or shaking.
“It’s important to never punish your animal for exhibiting signs of stress, however there
are some precautions you can take to reduce their anxiety and keep them safe.”
RSPCA Victoria emphasises the importance of microchipping your pet and ensuring their
details are up to date. This ensures that you are likely to be reunited with your pet if
they go missing.
“We also recommend securing your property by locking gates, and bringing your pet
inside during fireworks if possible,” says Dr Walker.
“Try to reduce the noises and sound as much as possible by covering windows, playing
the TV or radio and creating a safe, quiet space for them to hide. Distract them with
treats, or other enrichment toys to keep them occupied until the fireworks cease.”
If you are expecting fireworks, RSPCA Victoria encourages dog owners to take their dogs
early in the day to help tire them out.
You can find out more information about pets and fireworks here.
RSPCA Victoria has released a state-wide analysis of the 11,638 animal cruelty reports – averaging 31 per day - made to its Inspectorate during 2018-2019.
For the fourth year in a row, RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker was disappointed to note that neglect made up the highest proportion of animal cruelty concerns reported, indicating many animals in Victoria are not receiving the most basic standard of care, such as sufficient food, water and shelter.
“Neglect is a form of cruelty, and it is heartbreaking to know so many animals continue to suffer across our state due to lack of basic care,” Dr Walker said.
“We also have significant concerns about horse welfare in Victoria, with 10,601 horses involved in cruelty reports during 2018-19, which represents a 29% increase on the previous year.
“The 2018-19 animal cruelty report statistics clearly illustrate the need for further education and for people to seek help if they are having trouble providing basic care for their animals.”
The 11,638 cruelty reports received during 2018-19 represent an increase of almost 1,000 reports compared to the previous year (10,642), or 9.4%.
Offences in these reports included:
|Instances of animals with insufficient food, water or shelter||6,672||4,905|
|Concerns about hygiene, grooming and housing conditions||3,706||3,212|
|Reports of underweight animals||3,274||2,704|
|Sick and injured animals not receiving veterinary treatment||2,799||2,412|
|Concerns about animals being beaten or wounded||1,295||1,198|
|Instances of abandoned animals||1,232||1,245|
Note: Many of the reports received by RSPCA Victoria in 2018-19 included allegations of multiple offences involving multiple animals.
Dr Walker noted that while reports of cruelty had increased, encouragingly, it was an indication of the high standards Victorians expected for good animal welfare.
“Looking at these figures, it’s easy to feel disheartened. However, it’s affirming that each individual report made to our Inspectorate represents a person who has acted on their concern for an animal.
“The individuals who make these reports give voice to vulnerable animals who can’t speak for themselves.”
Dr Walker also emphasised the hard work and persistence of RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectors, who investigate cases of animal cruelty and enforce animal welfare law.
“Our Inspectorate performs a vital function for the Victorian community and RSPCA Victoria is thankful for the support of the Victorian Government as we work toward our vision of ending cruelty to all animals.”
In 2018-19, RSPCA Victoria Inspectors:
Offences in these reports included:
|Local government area||2017-18|
|1||617||Greater Geelong City Council||1||559||1||584|
|2||561||Casey City Council||2||462||2||435|
|3||410||Hume City Council||3||376||6||324|
|4||393||City of Greater Bendigo||6||333||13||272|
|5||383||Whittlesea City Council||10||311||9||293|
|6||375||Melton Shire Council||7||325||12||279|
|7||364||Wyndham City Council||13||291||8||294|
|8||362||Yarra Ranges Shire Council||8||322||3||412|
|9||351||Cardinia Shire Council||12||292||17||203|
|10||315||Frankston City Council||4||350||5||382|
|1||1:101||Pyrenees Shire Council||5||1:223||9||1:290|
|2||1:139||Loddon Shire Council||11||1:289||6||1:268|
|3||1:180||Hepburn Shire Council||1||1:157||1||1:189|
|4||1:190||Strathbogie Shire Council||2||1:184||5||1:257|
|5||1:223||Moorabool Shire Council||25||1:375||12||1:318|
|6||1:238||Benalla Rural City Council||3||1:209||11||1:308|
|7||1:242||Towong Shire Council||53||1:673||26||1:372|
|8||1:243||Latrobe City Council||6||1:247||2||1:253|
|9||1:245||Murrindindi Shire Council||9||1:284||10||1:305|
|10||1:246||Golden Plains Shire Council||8||1:260||8||1:282|
RSPCA Victoria welcomes the new Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations (POCTA Regulations) 2019 that came into effect in Victoria on 14 December 2019.
They include a raft of measures to improve the welfare of many domestic, farmed and native animals across Victoria:
Preventing animals dying in vehicles on hot days
The new regulations state that a person must not leave an animal unattended inside a motor vehicle, for more than 10 minutes, when outside temperatures are at or above 28 degrees Celsius. This will reduce the number of animals who die or become ill after being left in hot vehicles and reduce the need for call outs to vehicles by police officers and RSPCA Victoria Inspectors.
Providing pain relief for sheep being mulesed
The new regulations state that a person must not mules a sheep unless the sheep is administered with a pain relief product that has been registered for use on sheep by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (as of 1 July 2020). Prohibiting mulesing without pain relief will reduce pain and suffering for sheep that are mulesed. RSPCA Victoria believes that the compulsory administration of pain relief for sheep who have skin removed from their breech is a positive step for animal welfare, however, our goal is to see mulesing phased out entirely.
Making household fruit netting safer for animals
The new regulations state that a person must not use fruit netting for the purposes of covering household fruit trees, vegetable gardens and other fruiting plants unless it has a mesh size of 5mm x 5mm at full stretch. This will significantly reduce the likelihood of animals becoming trapped in netting. If netting has a large mesh-size, animals such as birds, endangered flying foxes and possums can become tangled, with consequent struggling leading to deep cuts and strangulation, which can result in death. Birds will often peck at flying-foxes when they are trapped, which can cause fear and distress, and many of the bats that are caught are mothers with young, meaning that two generations can suffer from injury and death.
Regulating the sale and use of glue traps
The new regulations ban the sale, use or setting of glue traps that can trap an animal. Additionally, the sale, use or setting of a glue trap for the purposes of capturing an insect are only permitted where the trap has a cage, or is designed to prevent an animal contacting the adhesive surface. Under the previous regulations glue traps were being sold and used illegally, including in non-permitted locations, and animals other than rodents were being captured. The previous regulations also made enforcement of the sale of glue traps difficult. These new regulations will reduce the suffering caused by these devices.
RSPCA Victoria welcomes the findings of a Senate Committee report calling for the Department of Agriculture to establish a national horse traceability group to progress development of a national horse register.
The report, tabled on Wednesday, took into consideration over 70 submissions from industry, veterinary groups and animal welfare organisations, including the RSPCA.
RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker said progressing a national horse register is a priority for RSPCA as it will significantly improve the welfare of equines around the country.
“We’re really pleased that the report reveals overwhelming support for a national horse register – this is something we have been advocating for because we know it will make a huge difference, including to our own Inspectors’ ability to track and care for vulnerable horses,” said Dr Walker.
“We support the recommendation to create a national horse traceability working group with input from RSPCA, government and the horse industry. RSPCA Victoria believes that a collaborative approach is essential to develop a robust horse traceability register that accurately traces horses from birth to death.
“We also believe mandatory microchipping of all equines is required to enable owners to be easily identified – this would greatly aid the work of our Inspectorate and other regulatory bodies.”
Both mandatory microchipping and a national horse register would also support a biosecurity function, assisting with management and communication during emergencies, such as bushfires or natural disasters, and disease outbreak.
Last financial year RSPCA Victoria investigated 1,712 reports from the public relating to horses, which involved an estimated 10,000 horses. Around 67% of all horse-related reports made to our Inspectorate related to underweight animals, insufficient feed or insufficient water.
One of RSPCA Victoria’s op shops will close its current shop operations this December, as the animal welfare organisation considers how to continue its strong presence in the community.
Recent changes to the facility housing the Mildura Op Shop have impacted the sustainability of the store, and its ability to raise funds to support the broader work of RSPCA Victoria. Considerations for a new shop are currently underway.
RSPCA Victoria Head of Operations Tegan McPherson said that they are now assessing the opportunities available for their ongoing presence in the community.
“Mildura is a part of our history. We’ve been here for over 20 years now and while it’s sad we are closing the current shop doors, we are excited by the next phase of our journey,” said Ms McPherson.
“We’re especially grateful to the volunteers at the heart of our work in Mildura. Their dedication to the RSPCA Victoria vision of ending cruelty to all animals is evident every time they step through the shop doors for their shift.
“We know that these changes will greatly impact our volunteers so we are working hard to support them through this period and will be working closely with them while determining our next steps.”
RSPCA Victoria will continue to provide updates over the coming months and welcomes comments and feedback as to how it can best serve the community in the future.
The Mildura Op Shop will be operationally closed by the end of December.
RSPCA Victoria is currently investigating allegations of greyhound racing trainers engaging in illegal live baiting, which is a breach of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA). As this is a live investigation, we are unable to provide further detail on the specifics of the case.
RSPCA Victoria is opposed to the use of live animals, or animal carcasses, as bait or lure for the purpose of training greyhounds for racing. The practice of live baiting is cruel and does not meet community expectations of how we should be treating animals and results in poor outcomes for all animals involved.
However, it is heartening that Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Integrity Unit is performing to the extent that it can identify breaches like these and sends a strong message that this practice will not be tolerated by industry, or the community.
RSPCA Victoria is pleased to see Racing Victoria responding to horse welfare concerns and committing more funding.
The Equine Welfare Strategic Plan is a great first step, but we feel more needs to be done. For example, this plan does not adequately address overbreeding and wastage in the industry, as seen in the ABC’s recent 7:30 Report.
Overbreeding is a fundamental problem – we don’t know how many horses are being bred. A regulatory system is needed for breeders to regulate and reduce the number of foals born. Racing Victoria’s intention to promote humane killing on-farm and a campaign to support responsible breeding will not be enough to address overbreeding and wastage.
An “advanced tracking system” is a start but RSPCA Victoria continues to advocate strongly for lifetime traceability of all racehorses, rather than just tracking them to their first post-racing home. Thoroughbreds can live for thirty years and may change hands multiple times throughout their lifetime. We are concerned that RV’s proposed advanced tracking system will not capture horses that don’t reach the racetrack, aren’t part of the Off The Track program or are killed post-racing.
Racing Victoria has also proposed a state-wide horse rehoming program, but this assumes that there’s enough demand for thoroughbreds in the recreational horse sector. Expanding post-racing career options such as Off The Track has also been proposed, but we believe greater incentives including financial support, are needed for re-trainers to participate in this program.
RSPCA Victoria is supportive of a state-wide foster program for thoroughbreds - especially vulnerable horses known to the RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate.
RSPCA Victoria believes an independent equine welfare taskforce should be developed to drive welfare change in industry and we would like to be part of this.
To strengthen the plan announced today RSPCA Victoria would like to see:
· Mandatory collection and publication of lifecycle records for all racehorses
· Mandatory collection and publication of injury statistics
· The development of a national horse identification and traceability register
· Greater financial investment in post-racing horses including financial incentives for Off The Track re-trainers
Ultimately, RSPCA Victoria would like to see comprehensive regulation of horseracing by an independent body.
Attributed to Dr Liz Walker, CEO, RSPCA Victoria
Like many Australians, we at RSPCA Victoria were distressed and appalled by the recent episode of the ABC’s 7:30 Report showing ex-racehorses being mistreated and slaughtered at abattoirs in Queensland and New South Wales.
The story shone a much-needed spotlight on oversupply and wastage of horses within the thoroughbred racing industry. RSPCA Victoria and other RSPCA societies across the country believe this is just one of many serious animal welfare problems within the horseracing industry. Others include a lack of transparency, risk of injury, use of painful devices such as whips, use of banned substances, racing immature horses, jumps racing and inadequate regulation of the industry overall.
For many years RSPCA Victoria has been advocating for the racing industry to prioritise animal welfare. We primarily do this by working directly with the horseracing industry bodies, including Racing Victoria, and the Victorian Government to try to drive change and progress.
We understand that many people are angry and want to take action themselves. Here are some options:
1. Learn more about welfare issues in horseracing by visiting RSPCA Knowledgebase
2. Find out what RSPCA Australia is coordinating nationally in response to this issue
3. If you are aware of animal cruelty make a report to the RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate online or if an animal’s life is at immediate risk please call us on (03) 9224 2222.
A site assessment at RSPCA Wangaratta has found the structural integrity of some of its buildings has been compromised by internal damage.
RSPCA Victoria Inspectors attended a property in the Ballarat region yesterday, removing 11 horses and ponies, four dogs and four cats due to ongoing welfare concerns. The dogs and cats were found to be living in filthy enclosures with access to dirty water only, while the ponies and horses were removed as a result of untreated injuries, inadequate parasite control, and insufficient feed.
Today the RSPCA attended a public hearing in Canberra as part of a federal Senate inquiry into the feasibility of a National Horse Traceability Register. The RSPCA supports the implementation of a national horse register as it will substantially improve the traceability and welfare of horses across Australia.
The RSPCA has long advocated for greater accountability and transparency regarding lifetime tracking of horses to ensure better welfare for horses involved in professional and amateur sports, farming and agricultural work, joy riding and breeding.
RSPCA Victoria’s Animal Welfare Policy Manager, Mhairi Roberts stated, “Compared to livestock and cats and dogs, horses are largely unregulated. The RSPCA frequently sees serious equine welfare issues with 67% of all horse reports to the Victorian Inspectorate related to underweight animals, insufficient feed or insufficient water due to overpopulation and uncontrolled breeding.”
“We would like to see all equines individually identified with a microchip and then registered on a national register to ensure lifetime traceability and encourage better welfare of horses across the country.”
The RSPCA recommends a register system similar to the UK’s Central Equine Database that provides national identification, registration and traceability services to the equine industry and governments and is supported by mandatory microchipping.
In addition to details such as date of birth, transfer of ownership, microchip details and residential location, a National Horse Registry should include imported horses to properly illustrate the equine population in Australia.
A register would also help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of RSPCA’s Inspectorate by making equine ownership details easily accessible. Horse cruelty reports pose many challenges for Inspectors, particularly when the owner of a horse cannot be identified as it limits the RSPCA’s ability to take action to improve welfare conditions and delays prosecution processes.
A national horse register would mean that horses sold or transferred interstate would also be easily traceable, providing community assurance that transparent information is available.
RSPCA Victoria is appealing for information after a mutilated female American Staffordshire Bull Terrier was found by a member of the public in Wollert last Sunday 1st September 2019.
RSPCA Victoria Inspectors attended a property in the Ballarat region yesterday, removing 11 horses and ponies, four dogs and four cats due to ongoing welfare concerns. The dogs and cats were found to be living in filthy enclosures with access to dirty water only, while the ponies and horses were removed as a result of untreated injuries, inadequate parasite control, and insufficient feed.
The health and safety of staff, volunteers and animals at RSPCA Wangaratta is at the forefront of building changes underway at the Animal Care Centre over the next few months.
RSPCA Victoria is encouraging animal lovers to get creative in the kitchen this August in anticipation of its tastiest annual fundraiser, Cupcake Day.
Slices, quiches, cakes and biscuits will be welcomed in offices, schools and homes across the state as Victorians join the fight against animal cruelty by hosting their own event or even indulging in a treat-filled month.
Cupcake Day is officially celebrated on Monday 19 August, however, participants can host their own celebration any time that suits them this month. RSPCA Victoria hopes to raise $265,000 by the end of August to help care for the 20,000 animals that enter its shelters every year.
RSPCA Victoria CEO, Dr Liz Walker, said Cupcake Day is a much-anticipated annual event that brings people together to celebrate and support the RSPCA’s work protecting and caring for animals.
“Whether you’re an amateur baker or a self-professed master-chef, Cupcake Day is a time to share good food with your family, friend and colleagues, knowing that every bite will make a difference to the lives of our most vulnerable animals,” said Dr Walker.
“95% of our work is funded by the community. Cupcake Day proceeds are vital for helping us care for our shelter animals, investigate reports of cruelty and fund community education and outreach programs to improve animal welfare.
“It’s very easy to host your own event. I know I’m looking forward to our own Cupcake Day at the RSPCA Victoria office - there’s always the most amazing selection of goodies and the best part is you can indulge guilt-free!”
Everyone who registers for RSPCA’s Cupcake Day receives a free kit that includes decorative bunting, posters and a donation box, making it super-easy to host a fun event.
How RSPCA Cupcake Day donations can make a difference:
• $25 can provide a homeless kitten with a warm bed, litter tray and a meal.
• $55 can cover one week of antibiotics for a sick animal in need.
• $150 can desex a dog or cat to get them ready to find their forever home.
• $350 can help keep an RSPCA Inspector on the road fighting animal cruelty.
To register, visit www.rspcacupcakeday.com.au
RSPCA Victoria is appealing for information about an emaciated female Bull Arab type dog found by the side of the road in Wyndham Vale on Monday 11th March 2019.
The Gippsland fires remain an important issue to us, and we are ready to provide assistance where needed. Our teams are in constant contact with local rescue groups and councils to offer welfare boarding for any animals in need. So far all groups are advising that fortunately no animals need this as yet. We have also received a lot of very generous offers from those offering land for displaced livestock, and we are assisting Agriculture Victoria to coordinate these offers. Reports of injured wildlife, livestock or domestic pets can also be made to us 24 hours a day by calling 9224 2222, so that we can liaise with assessment teams on the ground and provide additional assistance where required.
We are constantly liaising with the AgVic Animal Welfare Commander to be updated on the response to the bushfires and to offer assistance. We understand some people are concerned that we’re yet to send staff and volunteers into the bushfire affected areas. RSPCA Victoria is a partner to the Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan led by AgVic, DJPR and DEWLP. It is critical that all partners follow the established protocols and the single point leadership of the Animal Welfare Commander. These protocols ensure the most effective response to this emergency, and the safety of those responding. Currently the assessment teams continue to assure us that they do not require additional resources from us at this stage, but as a partner we are ready to respond to a request from the AgVic Animal Welfare Commander to attend. More people and resources flooding the area than is needed could also pose a great safety risk to those involved, and could threaten the effectiveness of plans currently in place.
While we want to help those affected by this devastation, we must focus on the good news that as yet this situation has not reached such a dire state that AgVic require more resources than they already have on the ground.
RSPCA Victoria is very concerned for the safety and wellbeing of the people and animals affected by the bushfires currently burning in Gippsland.
RSPCA Victoria responds to emergencies in accordance with Victoria’s established emergency reporting systems and processes. When emergencies occur, RSPCA Victoria partners with the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions (DJPR) and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to activate the Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan.
On Monday 4 March, RSPCA Victoria attended a meeting coordinated by Agriculture Victoria (the lead agency managing the response to the Gippsland fires) and we can advise that:
•On Friday 1 March, lightning ignited many fires across the Gippsland landscape. Multiple fires within the Bunyip State Park combined resulting in the Gembrook-Helmet Tk fire. There are also active fires near Yinnar South, (the Yinnar South-Budgeree fire) and the Hibernia-Black Snake Creek (Dargo).
•Agriculture Victoria staff gained access to the first fire ground this morning and expect access to the second fire ground tomorrow morning (Tuesday). They are conducting assessments and prioritising effort;
•As yet, no significant reports have been received relating to fire impact on companion animals and horses;
•Local councils are assisting people and their animals through the coordination of Emergency Response Centres and local community meetings.
The situation remains hazardous and is still unfolding. The Agriculture Victoria Animal Welfare Commander is currently working with the Incident Agency Commander to determine animal welfare impacts and will keep us updated. Agriculture Victoria has confirmed that there is no additional assistance required from private veterinarians, RSPCA Victoria or other jurisdictions at this stage. This may change as information comes in and initial assessment is undertaken to the impacted properties.
RSPCA Victoria has the Mobile Animal Clinic (MAC) and operational staff on standby if required. At this stage we anticipate that the MAC with vets and Inspectors may need to be deployed later in the week. We may also need to provide shelter capacity to welfare board some companion animals.
At this stage we advise concerned members of the public to contact Emergency Victoria on 1800 226 226 for information about the fires.
Reports of injured wildlife or stock can be made to RSPCA Victoria by telephoning (03) 9224 2222. We will refer these reports to the Agriculture Victoria assessment teams on the ground and provide additional assistance where required.
Last weekend, RSPCA was on a mission to Clear the Shelters over a three-day period with adoption fees reduced to $29 for all animals great and small in care nationwide.
The goal was to rehome as many animals as possible, including dogs, cats, kittens, rabbits and guinea pigs over the three-day adoption period which ran from Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th February. In Victoria, the promotion ran in all RSPCA locations across the state plus participating Petbarn stores.
Tegan McPherson, RSPCA Victoria Head of Operations, said, “This is an outstanding result for the animals that found their forever homes last weekend and a testament to the collaborative effort between RSPCA teams and Petbarn stores around the country.
“For those who missed out on adopting over the weekend, RSPCA Victoria receives animals in need of care on a daily basis and therefore there are always more animals moving into adoption. Our Animal Care Centres shelters around the state already have more animals available for adoption.”
Clear The Shelter state-by-state adoption results
Price vs return rates vs welfare
What this means for animals
RSPCA Victoria welcomes the Sentencing Advisory Council’s (SAC) Animal Cruelty Offences in
The RSPCA is on a mission to Clear the Shelters this weekend with adoption fees reduced to $29 for all animals great and small in care nationwide . The goal is to rehome as many animals as possible over the three-day adoption period running from Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th February.
RSPCA Victoria today announces changes to shelter and pound services in the Bendigo area with the delivery of these operations transitioning over to the City of Greater Bendigo.
For more than 20 years, RSPCA Victoria has worked with the City of Greater Bendigo to provide an animal shelter and through a contract, pound services for the local Bendigo area.
RSPCA Victoria’s contract with council expires on 30 June 2019, and effective 1 July, City of Greater Bendigo will take over the operation of pound services.
This decision was made following discussions with the City of Greater Bendigo council about changes to RSPCA Victoria’s fee structure.
RSPCA Victoria’s Head of Operations, Tegan McPherson said, “The changes to our fee structure enable us to ensure cost recovery from contracted services, which has not been the case in Bendigo.
“These changes ensure the sustainability of our organisation so that we can continue to invest in ending cruelty to all animals from now into the future.”
The City of Greater Bendigo Council has opted to manage pound services directly as a result of these changes.
RSPCA’s Inspectorate will continue to service the Bendigo region and work with the local community and the local Op Shop in Bendigo will continue to remain open for business.
RSPCA Victoria remains committed to working collaboratively with City of Greater Bendigo and regional communities across the state to support good animal welfare.
Tegan McPherson said the organisation is mindful that it’s a difficult time for those who have worked with RSPCA Victoria.
“On behalf of RSPCA Victoria I want to take this opportunity to thank all the dedicated staff, volunteers and members of the Bendigo community who have supported our Animal Care Centre over many years of operation.” Tegan McPherson said.
Ongoing service to regional areas continues to be a priority for RSPCA Victoria however it’s also important to ensure the operating model for these areas is sustainable and contributing to RSPCA Victoria’s Vision and Purpose.
Tegan McPherson said ongoing community programs and projects, including maintaining strong working relationships with local councils, is key to the organisation’s ability to continuing to achieve great animal welfare outcomes in the area.“It is vital that we ensure the financial sustainability of our organisation so we can provide important animal welfare services and programs across the state in the long term. This decision reflects our obligation to community to remain financially sustainable while maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare.”
Due to an enormous influx of cats and kittens throughout kitten season, RSPCA Victoria has over 1,400 cats in care! This large number of cats and kittens needing care and adoption is pushing the Victorian RSPCA facilities over capacity, increasing the pressure on animals, staff and resources.
In a desperate effort to find as many cats and kittens as possible their forever homes over the coming weeks the animal welfare organisation is waiving the adoption fee for adult cats. New Year, New Home is the aim for all cats in care with RSPCA Victoria.
“We desperately need to find forever homes for all of them as soon as possible and to make way for the many more cats and kittens that will come into our care in the coming months.” said RSPCA Victoria CEO, Dr Liz Walker.
Kitten Season runs from approximately October and through the warmer months, meaning many more animals requiring care will continue arriving daily for the next three months.
18/19 KITTEN SEASON – Animal intake by month
To address the issue and ensure all the cats and kittens are cared for and provided with the best chance possible to find a new home, RSPCA Victoria is seeking additional Foster Carers and has set up temporary feline housing to cope with the high number of cats and kittens in care.
The situation is exacerbated by the number of cats presenting with the Panleukopenia virus upon arrival at RSPCA Victoria shelters in recent months.
Once a cat with the virus enters any RSPCA Victoria facility, that location is required to go into lock down for a two-week period therefore slowing rehabilitation and the adoption process. This shutdown period extends the amount of time the cats remain in care, two weeks longer than necessary.
RSPCA Victoria believes the increase in the Panleukopenia virus is due to cat owners not properly vaccinating their pets.
CEO, RSPCA Victoria, Dr Liz walker said, “It is critical for owners to vaccinate their cats from six to eight weeks of age to ensure they are protected from serious diseases and to avoid the spread of disease.”
RSPCA Victoria also reports an increase in the numbers of cats and kittens that have arrived into care via the RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate, ultimately increasing the number of animals requiring care, rehabilitation and adoption.
To ensure the many cats and kittens in care at RSPCA Victoria find their forever home soon, until January 31st there will be no fees to adopt adult cats.
Every animal is precious to RSPCA Victoria, so all normal adoption processes will still apply to ensure the right cat is placed in the right home. For those considering adopting a cat, the perfect time is now.
Free cat adoption is available across all RSPCA Victoria facilities including Petbarn stores. The promotion is running state-wide due to the challenges RSPCA Victoria is experiencing with the high number of cats requiring care and adoption.
The promotion excludes kittens under the age of four months.
RSPCA Victoria has released state-wide animal cruelty report data for 2017-2018.
|17-18 Ranking||17-18 Reports||Area||16-17 Ranking||16-17 Reports||15-16 Ranking||15-16 Reports|
|17-18 Ranking||17-18 Reports||Area||16-17 Ranking||16-17 Per Capita Rate||15-16 Ranking||15-16 Per Capita Rate|
In a fantastic outcome for animal welfare, RSPCA Victoria prosecutors secured criminal convictions in two cases of animal cruelty at Sunshine Magistrate’s Court.
A pet cat has been found in north-east Melbourne with its neck, tail and leg bound with cable ties and a threatening note attached around its neck, according to a report made to RSPCA Victoria.
RSPCA Victoria is appealing for information after its Inspectors responded to a report of a sheep with electrical tape wound around
RSPCA Victoria is putting out a rallying cry for a “Furry Army” to help get animal welfare on the agenda of candidates and political parties at this November’s Victorian state election.
After receiving a report about a dog, our inspectors attended a property in November 2017 where they found him, emaciated, tangled in his chain, and without access to water.
After receiving a report about a dog, our inspectors attended a property in June 2017 where they found an emaciated Border Collie x Wolfhound who was laying down, barely able to move. Inspectors rushed the dog to the nearest vet, but heartbreakingly, the dog did not survive.
Late last week, inspectors from our Major Investigations Team (MIT) secured the surrender of 22 dogs and puppies from a property north of Bendigo after receiving a report detailing concerns for their welfare.
RSPCA Victoria has shut down an illegal puppy farm trading out of a property in Dunolly, bringing an end to the 57-dog breeding operation.
On Monday 2 July, RSPCA Victoria Inspectors will hit the ground running to ensure that pet shop operators are complying with new pet shops legislations that come into effect on 1 July.
In celebration of its charity partnership with The Wizard of Oz, RSPCA Victoria is reducing its adoption fees for a week-long “No Place Like Home” campaign.
RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker today welcomed the Government’s proposed changes to make it easier for tenants to keep pets in rental homes, saying that the move had the potential to significantly reduce the number of dogs and cats surrendered to Victorian shelters.
“We have long held concerns about existing rules that allow landlords to automatically include a ‘‘no pets’ clause in rental agreements,” Dr Walker said.
“RSPCA Victoria deals daily with animal owners who have no choice but to surrender their animals to us, either to get into the rental market or when moving to a new rental property.
“Over the past two years, around 15% of the dogs and cats surrendered to us came into our care because their owners were moving and could not take them to the new home.”
“These decisions cause significant stress and grief, both to the
Dr Walker said that pet ownership is a valued, well-established part of the Australian way of life.
“Research has shown that owning a pet can have a number of physical health benefits, including increased cardiovascular health, increased physical activity and fewer visits to the doctor – as well as improving social connectedness,” she said.
“We welcome any changes to our rental laws that allow more Victorians to experience the benefits of pet ownership.”
Dr Walker commended the Government for its thorough consultation on the Residential Tenancies Act in 2016. RSPCA Victoria’s submission strongly recommended that the Government reverse the current practice of excluding pets unless otherwise agreed, to one of automatic inclusion.
RSPCA Victoria inspectors, accompanied by Victoria Police, today executed warrants at a property in Blind Bight as part of investigations into animal welfare concerns for dogs at the premises.
Eight Victoria Police members attended with four RSPCA Victoria Inspectors and two veterinarians.
No dogs were seized during today’s operation.
RSPCA Victoria has been working with the City of Casey and Victoria Police on a joint operation to improve the welfare of the dogs on the property.
RSPCA Victoria obtained today’s warrant to verify that dogs on the property had received the full course of veterinary treatment required under 10 Notices to Comply issued to the owner of the animals in April.
The Notices to Comply related to a variety of health concerns and were issued during an inspection of the property by RSPCA Victoria in April, following welfare reports from the community.
Each of the 34 dogs on the property was today assessed by the two veterinarians who attended, and no health issues were identified.
RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker said that, while she appreciated the level of public interest in the investigation, RSPCA Inspectors can only seize animals under the powers afforded by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA).
“As there were no sick or injured animals requiring immediate treatment on the property today, there were no grounds for seizure,” she said.
All dogs tethered on the property today complied with the POCTAA Code of Practice for the Tethering of Animals – a non-enforceable code that does not incur penalties under POCTAA powers.
Dr Walker said that this case highlights the differences between animal welfare expectations in the community and the laws that RSPCA Victoria currently enforces.
“It’s clear that the community expects animal welfare laws to reflect the ‘five freedoms*’ at a minimum, and they want to make sure that every owner’s duty of care to their animals is absolutely clear,” she said.
“We support Government efforts to progress towards that goal, and are keen to keep having conversations with the community and with Government lawmakers so that animal welfare legislation continues to improve.”
*The five freedoms
Anyone with concerns about the welfare of animals is encouraged to make a report to RSPCA Victoria at rspcavic.org or 9224 2222.
RSPCA Australia has written to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader urging them to take action to suspend the live export trade to Vietnam, in the wake of shocking footage of cattle being sledgehammered to death.
The letters say that “while the live export industry may attempt to characterise these incidents as ‘isolated’, the Department of Agriculture’s own compliance reports since 2013 note supply chain breaches involving thousands of cattle. As sledgehammering is a common method of slaughter in Vietnam, it is likely that many of these cattle met a similar fate to those depicted in the “7.30” program.”
“Vietnam has more recorded non-compliances with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) than any other country. There have been 17 findings against exporters in Vietnam in the three years it has been operating under the system. This is more than double the number of recorded non-compliances in Indonesia.”
The letters call upon the leaders to suspend the trade pending a comprehensive independent review of supply chain management issues and the administration of ESCAS.
“This independent review must include an RSPCA scientific representative to ensure it is open and
Additionally, the letters call for the transfer of regulatory responsibility for live animal exports from the Department of Agriculture to an independent regulator, free of conflicting institutional objectives.
“These measures represent the only course of action that will demonstrate to the Australian community that the Government is serious about protecting the welfare of animals sent overseas for slaughter.”
“Without such assurance, the live export trade does not have a social licence to operate and will continue to face intense public scrutiny and criticism”.
3,000 Australians have written to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Agriculture Minister and the Shadow Agriculture Minister in less than 24 hours, as a result of RSPCA Australia’s call to action following the “7.30” program.
RSPCA Australia has also written to the Australian Live Exporters Council seeking access to all approved facilities in Vietnam for an independent audit.
RSPCA Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Bidda Jones, said seven years had passed since the Live Export Standards Advisory Group (LESAG) first supported a review of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL), yet the standards remain unchanged.
ASEL covers the selection of animals for export on
A review committee was appointed in July 2012. In September 2012, the Department appointed Dr Lynn Simpson, a veterinarian with outstanding credentials and experience in the live export sector, as its technical advisor to the committee.
“In February 2013, Dr Lynn Simpson’s submission to the review was published online by the Department. The photographs it contained were a shocking indictment of the conditions endured by cattle and sheep on board livestock vessels.
“A few weeks later, Dr Simpson was removed from the committee as a direct result of industry pressure. Since then there has been absolutely zero progress – the ASEL remain unchanged since minor amendments were made in 2010”, Dr Jones said.
Dr Simpson’s submission was later removed from the Department’s website.
“The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources still has no processes for receiving independent advice on animal welfare matters relating to
“The current standards fail to ensure people handling animals are aware of their legal responsibilities and have the competency to carry them
“The Government has been aware of these faulty practices for years, and has done nothing to raise the standards to best practice”. “There is still a failure to agree on even basic standards covering the welfare of animals on live export ships, such as space allowances and bedding provisions”.
“Current stocking densities force animals to lie down on top of each other and jostle for access to feed and water points”.
“Tonight’s “7.30” illustrated the inherent conflict of interest in the Department when it comes to addressing animal welfare issues in the live export trade, even in the face of stark evidence of inhumane treatment of animals”, said Dr Jones
You can download Dr Simpson’s full submission including photos from the link here
It may be difficult to remember now that winter has well and truly set in, but the cold weather was a long time coming this year.
That extended warm period may have felt nice, but it also resulted in an extended kitten season, which is now being reflected in the hundreds of cats available for adoption in RSPCA centres across Victoria.
As a result, RSPCA Victoria will be offering “No Fee for Felines” from Friday 24 June to Monday 27 June, inclusive.
During these four days, RSPCA Victoria will be waiving the usual cat adoption fee of $110 (for those four months and over) to give these wonderful creatures a better chance of a brighter future. The adoption fee for a kitten remains at $185 or $270 for two kittens.
RSPCA Victoria Animal Care Manager Liz Walker said around 250 cats were waiting for forever homes at RSPCA Adoption Centres across Victoria.
“The fee waiver applies to our adult cats – four months and over - which is when a cat that has not been desexed can start having litters,” Ms Walker said. “These cats often get overlooked for adoption for kittens, but they are still so young themselves.”
Every cat available for adoption is desexed, microchipped and vaccinated to ensure it’s ready to start a new happy life. Normal adoption procedures continue to apply during the no-fee period.
“The same time and effort will go into matching each animal to the right family because cats don’t belong in shelters, they belong in homes,” Ms Walker said.
Cats make great companions; provide relaxation and other health benefits for humans; are suitable for a variety of living spaces and lifestyles; are affordable to own and care for
No Fee for Felines cats are currently available for adoption from the following RSPCA Adoption Centres, RSPCA Pets Place Centres and Pet Barns:
*Burwood East *Bendigo *Ballarat + Pets Place *Epping Pets Place *Castlemaine *Portland *Peninsula (Pearcedale) * Wangaratta *Warrnambool *Pet Barn – Mentone * Pet Barn - Sunbury
10 June 2016
ESCAS PERFORMANCE REPORT: HORRORS WITHOUT SANCTION
The Government’s latest quarterly report into the regulatory performance of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) provides another litany of horrific treatment of Australian livestock.
Among other incidents, the report, released through the Department of Agriculture’s website yesterday, contains details of:
* thousands of sheep being sold outside of approved supply chains in Kuwait,
* sheep being trussed and thrown into car boots and slaughtered in makeshift slaughter rooms at livestock markets,
* cattle being roped and struck multiple times in the head with sledgehammers in Vietnam.
RSPCA Australia has previously raised concerns about the rapid expansion of Australian Government approved supply chains into developing countries like Vietnam and Thailand.
The Australian Government has now allowed nine exporters to send 20,000-30,000 head of cattle per month to 118 different facilities in Vietnam. In 2012, just 3,353 cattle were exported to that country, while in 2015, the number had increased to 311,523.
The high risk posed by such rapid expansion is borne out by the country’s ESCAS compliance record. Vietnam has the highest record of non-compliance of all Australia’s live export markets. It is double the number of non-compliance reports in Indonesia.
The report, yet again, raises serious concerns about the quality and effectiveness of the auditors and auditing processes that are supposed to underpin the ESCAS. RSPCA Australia is also very concerned that critical and major non-compliances were recorded in the latest report, but no exporters were prosecuted or had their licenses suspended.
Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) again featured with non-compliances. It had another two critical and five major non-compliances recorded against its performance, bringing the exporter’s record to five critical and seven major non-compliances.
The faults in the ESCAS system are amplified yet
Without adequate penalties, exporters will continue to take a cavalier approach to animal welfare and Australian livestock will continue to suffer
Almost 120 dogs and puppies are in RSPCA Victoria’s care after its Special Investigations Unit (SIU) undertook a major raid on two properties in Longwood, northern Victoria yesterday.
RSPCA Victoria inspectors, accompanied by Victoria Police and a team of veterinarians and animal attendants, simultaneously executed warrants at two adjoining properties on Tuesday, 7 June.
The RSPCA Mobile Animal Care (MAC) unit was deployed with 21 RSPCA staff, comprising five teams of Inspectors, veterinarians, vet nurse and animal attendants plus incident control centre staff, who were on the scene for the entire day.
Victoria Police officers were in attendance to ensure the operation was carried out safely. Support was also provided by Strathbogie Shire.
The raid is part of ongoing investigations by the SIU into breeders with links to show dogs. It is one of several investigations into large-scale animal cruelty involving dogs currently underway in Victoria
In a coordinated approach, RSPCA Inspectors rescued 119 small breed dogs, with 50 surrendered and the remaining dogs seized under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA).
All of the animals were taken into care because of immediate and serious concerns for their welfare. The dogs, including Chihuahuas, Chinese Crested and Spaniels, were allegedly found to be living in small cages and squalid conditions, both inside and outside the residences. Veterinarians attending the premises also identified a number of health and husbandry concerns.
Six cats were also taken into care, with one seized and five surrendered to RSPCA Inspectors.
All of the seized and surrendered animals were transported to an RSPCA facility where they are receiving veterinary care. Four deceased dogs were also removed from one of the properties.
A total of 13 Notices to Comply (NTC) were issued to the owners at the two properties. These relate to addressing animals’ health, hygiene, husbandry and food/water provisions.
Ten NTCs at the first property relate to dogs, cats and birds that remain at the premises. Three NTCs at the second property relate to birds remaining at the premises.
RSPCA is continuing to investigate alleged breaches of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA) and will be working closely with Strathbogie Shire surrounding other potential breaches of legislation related to alleged domestic animal breeding operations.
We urge anyone with concerns about the welfare of animals to make a report to RSPCA Victoria at rspcavic.org or 9224 2222.
Since April this year, RSPCA Victoria has been working with the City of Casey and Victoria Police on a joint operation to improve the welfare of a number of dogs at a property in Blind Bight, after receiving a number of reports from concerned community members.
As part of this operation, RSPCA Victoria Inspectors attended the property
RSPCA Victoria understands that charges relating to the keeping of the dogs on the property have been issued by Casey Council in line with their local laws, and will be heard in court today.
These include charges relating to:
RSPCA Victoria's Senior Inspector Simon Primrose today said that the
"In general, our powers are limited to enforcing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act," said Senior Inspector Primrose.
"However, neither tethering, nor keeping
"The City of Casey has had the foresight to turn a non-compulsory Victorian code of practice into a locally enforceable bylaw. That decision meant that they were able to lay charges immediately, where we could not."
RSPCA Victoria will continue to work with a local veterinarian to ensure that the conditions specified in the notices to comply already issued are met. If the notices are not complied with, RSPCA Victoria has the option of obtaining a warrant to seize the animals.
RSPCA Victoria today announced an Independent Review into the RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate will be conducted by former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Neil Comrie AO APM.
The community is invited to make submissions that will help the Senior Reviewer answer three key questions:
• What is the scale of animal cruelty in Victoria?
• What resourcing and approaches need to be put in place to ensure animal cruelty is being adequately investigated and prosecuted, and community expectations are being met?
• Are there any ways RSPCA Victoria could use the resources it has right now more effectively and efficiently?
Online submissions can be made from today and close at
As Senior Reviewer, Mr Comrie will identify and lead a team of experts to provide him with advice and support as he considers submissions, collects information and prepares his report and recommendations.
All submissions will be received in confidence, to protect the privacy of individuals and ensure that people can be candid and open in the information that they provide.
Dr Liz Walker, CEO of RSPCA Victoria, assured Victorians that every submission received would be carefully considered by the Senior Reviewer.
“RSPCA Victoria looks forward to the final report, which will undoubtedly reflect the information expressed in a broad range of submissions,” she said.
“In September this year, we will release a report along with our public response to the review.”
Dr Walker said that it is some time since the Inspectorate function was last reviewed and that periodic reviews are essential to ensure that operational performance and efficiency are maximised and in line with current best practice.
“The reports we receive about animal cruelty are growing in number every year and, like all not-for-profit organisations, our resources are limited,” she said. “If we’re going to meet the community’s expectations of us in protecting animals, we need to have a very clear grasp of the scale of the problem and identify the mix of resources and approaches that will get the best results most efficiently.”
A PDF of this story is available here.
For all review details, click here.
RSPCA Victoria welcomes the Andrews Government’s intention to establish an independent integrity body to oversee and enforce race day rules and animal welfare codes for thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing.
Released today, the Bittar Review of the Integrity Structures of the Victorian Racing Industry, made two key recommendations:
RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker said she was pleased that the suggestions made in RSPCA Victoria’s submission had been largely adopted as recommendations.
“We firmly believe, to create enduring community confidence in the racing industry, integrity functions must be separated from commercial operations,” Dr Walker said.
“RSPCA Victoria is delighted that Mr Bittar’s recommendations have been accepted in principle, and look forward to working with the government, the three racing codes and the VRIU in making sure that animal welfare is front and centre.
“In particular, we look forward to establishing Memorandums of Understanding with the
“The success of this unit will be assured if it works closely with us and with other law enforcement agencies to cooperatively manage investigations that involve criminal allegations – whether they involve financial or animal cruelty crimes,” Dr Walker said.
RSPCA Victoria also indicated that it welcomed the inclusion of training, education and public reporting of business plans and other metrics in the VRIU’s operating model.
We recently made a submission to the review of the Residential Tenancies Act to advocate for the right of tenants to own a pet
We wholeheartedly believe that if tenants were allowed pets, not only would surrenders decrease, but more people would come through our doors to adopt and give an animal a second chance at a good life. With more people able to adopt, the length of stay for shelter animals would be shorter, relieving stress and therefore the risk of developing
RSPCA Victoria inspectors attended a property in Devon Meadows on Wednesday to investigate concerns for the welfare of five greyhounds after being notified by Greyhound Racing Victoria.
A Notice to Comply was issued for the dog remaining on the property. RSPCA Victoria will make further contact after
RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker said community concern for the welfare of greyhounds remains at an all-time high.
“Whether they are racing dogs or domestic pets, the community expects greyhounds to be afforded the same care and treatment every animal deserves.”
Greyhound Racing Victoria CEO Alan Clayton said GRV would continue to support RSPCA Victoria in its inquiries.
"We will work closely with the RSPCA on any further action and will strongly consider taking additional action," Mr Clayton said.
Anyone with concerns about the welfare of animals is urged to make a report to RSPCA Victoria at rspcavic.org.au or 9224 2222.
RSPCA Victoria inspectors today execute warrants at a property in Wendouree as part of Operation Cacatua, an investigation by the RSPCA’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and the City of Ballarat into an alleged dog breeding establishment.
Inspectors seized more than 20 dogs and puppies because of immediate and serious concerns for the animals’ welfare. Many of the dogs were allegedly found to be living in squalid conditions.
The animals have been transported to an RSPCA facility to receive immediate veterinary assessment and care.
RSPCA Victoria can confirm that today’s seizure is part of an ongoing operation that resulted in the seizure of 52 dogs after they were discovered by Council staff in cages in a park outside of Ballarat earlier this year.
The dogs are described as working breeds. Council and RSPCA investigations are ongoing. RSPCA would encourage anyone with information that could assist with our enquiries to contact the RSPCA Inspectorate at rspcavic.org/services/inspectorate/tip-line/
We urge anyone with concerns about the welfare of animals to make a report to RSPCA Victoria at rspcavic.org.au or 9224 2222.
23 April 2016
RSPCA thanks rescuers of dog from wombat hole
RSPCA Victoria received a report late Tuesday afternoon about a dog that had been trapped in a wombat hole for some days.
8 April 2016
Boolarra South horse investigation
RSPCA Victoria has been investigating reports about horses at a property in Boolarra South
There have been a total of 10 reports made at this property. We have attended the property four times along with numerous telephone and email contacts.
The first report was in March 2015 and we attended the same day it was received. The matter involved an injured horse which was treated and the matter resolved one week later. No further follow up was required and no subsequent reports were made.
The majority of the horses on the property are in acceptable-to-good body condition.
We received the other nine reports from March 23rd this year. After communications with the
We attended the property again this week and
This is an active investigation.
The horses are under the expert care of the RSPCA, veterinarians and the registered charity Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary.
Their ongoing care would not be possible without the dedicated people at Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary.
Golden Plains Equine and Rosehill Veterinary practices were on hand to provide immediate care for the horses on Monday.
Tragically, one elderly horse that was severely emaciated, became recumbent in
The remaining horses on the property are continuing to receive
Chris Giles of Equine Education is providing handling assistance and is overseeing the feeding regime of the horses in care.
RSPCA would also like to thank Racing Victoria, Malua Racing, Freedman Racing, Cloud 9 Thoroughbreds and Chris Giles for their urgent transport of the horses from Bulla at late notice.
The public continues to provide generous offers of support, including Kelato Animal Health, Ranvet, and Horseland Ringwood who have donated and delivered 23 rugs.
We thank you all.
RSPCA Victoria today released footage and images of the horses seized from a property in Bulla on Monday.
Twenty-three horses were removed from the property in a joint operation between Victoria Police (who are the lead agency in the investigation) and RSPCA Victoria, with assistance and transport from Racing Victoria.
The horses were transported to undisclosed locations and are under the expert care of the RSPCA, veterinarians and the registered charity Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary.
RSPCA Acting CEO Jon McGregor said the malnourished horses were now in good hands and receiving the expert care that they require.
On arrival, most of the horses had body scores ranging between 0 and 1.
Measures were taken to prevent
*Three horses who were exhibiting signs of colic had more intensive examinations, and were administered intravenous fluids and appropriate analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication, and monitored carefully.
*One of these colic cases, and another horse with lacerations on its hind legs, were immediately transferred to the equine hospital for further care.
*The horse with colic is in a serious, but stable condition.
*Tragically, one elderly horse that was severely emaciated, became recumbent in
*On Tuesday, another of the colic horses was transferred to
*The remaining horses on the property are continuing to receive
The RSPCA has the power to hold the horses until such time they become the property of RSPCA through legal processes or alternative orders are made by the court. We expect to be able to give a further update on this in two weeks time.
“We hope to eventually be able to find the horses new homes and would like to thank the Victorian public for its support with offers of food, equipment and rehousing.”
Mr McGregor said the case was one of many incidences of horse neglect that RSPCA Victoria has been dealing with at unprecedented levels.
“In the past two
“There is a very, very serious issue developing across Victoria that will reach crisis point by winter if people don’t act immediately. This is not just about drought conditions, this is about neglect.
This tragic event should never have occurred. We regret that when we attended the property
As a result of this
RSPCA Victoria is continuing to work with Victoria Police on the Bulla investigation.
In a separate, unrelated operation this morning, RSPCA inspectors executed a warrant at a Mickleham property seizing six additional horses during a planned operation.
*These six horses are now also in RSPCA care and are included in the 139 figure above.
4 April 2016
RSPCA Victoria response to Bulla horses
RSPCA Victoria is continuing to work with police today after an estimated 22 dead horses were found on a property in Batey Court in Bulla yesterday.
Our immediate concern today is the welfare of the remaining horses on that property and our inspectors will ensure these animals receive care. Our inspectorate team will continue working with Victoria Police on the investigation.
1 April 2016
1 April 2016
Free range hens: what will "meaningful" mean to them?
RSPCA Australia says today’s definition of a new free-range egg standard by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs may have been a waste of time.