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21 January 2022

RSPCA Victoria welcomes report from Taskforce on Rehoming Pets

RSPCA supportive of improving regulatory frameworks for pet rehoming sector

RSPCA Victoria welcomes yesterday’s release of the final report from the Victorian Government’s Taskforce on Rehoming Pets, after providing a submission advocating for a number of the resulting recommendations. 

RSPCA is pleased to see recommendations, including improvements to the regulatory framework for rehoming pets, that will work to improve the welfare of dogs and cats requiring rehoming.

As a socially conscious shelter, RSPCA Victoria believes transparency, including animal fate data reporting, collaboration and continuous improvement of standards are vital to ensure all animals are treated humanely and are provided with their best opportunity to live a good life.

RSPCA Victoria is particularly pleased to see the regulation of rescue groups has been included in the recommendations from the Taskforce. This will help ensure all animal care groups are transparent and adhere to the same standards.

RSPCA Victoria looks forward to working with the Victorian Government on the report’s recommendations as they consider important decisions relating to new policy that will improve the lives of Victorian animals.

7 January 2022

Temporary closures to Portland and Warrnambool Animal Care Centres 

**Update Monday 17 January 2022*
Our Warrnambool Animal Care Centre has now reopened to the public. 

Due to a string of COVID-positive cases at our Portland and Warrnambool Animal Care Centres, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close to the public. We will be looking to reopen as soon as possible once we have the full teams back on deck, but until then we will be diverting all our available resources into looking after the animals in our care. If you have lost your pet, please call us and an operator will assist you with next steps in order to facilitate a reclaim where possible. We apologise for any inconvenience and look forward to welcoming you back into our shelters soon.

5 January 2022

Ringing in a new year and a new home for Victoria’s rabbits and cats

Influx of rabbits and cats needing forever homes

Launching today, RSPCA Victoria’s New Year, New Home adoption promotion aims to rehome as many rabbits and cats as possible and is reducing the adoption fees to $22 per animal.

Running at RSPCA Victoria’s metropolitan sites at Burwood East, Peninsula and Epping Animal Welfare Facility, Wangaratta and Warrnambool from 4th – 18th January 2022, adult rabbit adoption fees will be reduced from $68 and cat adoption fees will be reduced from $120, in honour of what is sure to be another big year in the world of animal welfare.

All senior cats (over 10 years old) and rabbits (over 5 years old) will continue to have their adoption fees waived.

RSPCA Victoria’s Head of Operations, Tanya Drakopoulos, says small animals such as rabbits and cats make engaging and affectionate pets.

“They may be small, but rabbits and cats are colourful characters with big personalities. They have just as much love to give as dogs, if their owners focus on building a strong bond and caring for them properly by giving them all they need for a rich and rewarding life,” said Ms Drakopoulos.

“Sadly, many people buy rabbits and cats under the guise that they are low maintenance, however they are naturally active, social, curious and intelligent animals who require as much care as other pets.

Last year alone, 226 rabbits and 671 cats were surrendered to RSPCA Victoria Animal Care Centres. The most common reason reported by owners for surrender was not having enough time to care for the animal.

“We see a lot of rabbits and cats come through our Inspectorate because people do not invest the time or energy that is needed to care for them properly. “Spending quality time with pets is one of the best ways to build a bond and have a meaningful relationship with these special animals.

“Equally important is ensuring cats and rabbits have all of the fundamental freedoms to live a happy and healthy life including adequate space, food, enrichment, and the company of other desexed animals.”

While RSPCA Victoria’s New Year, New Home offers reduced adoption fees, the same time and effort
goes into carefully matching each animal to the right family. Anyone wanting to adopt an animal from
RSPCA Victoria is still required to proceed through the usual adoption process to ensure they meet
the specific behavioural and environmental needs of the relevant animal.

RSPCA Victoria has held several successful discounted and fee-waived adoption promotions and the
community can be assured the normal process applies. Studies have shown that there is no
difference in the care provided for an animal whether adopted through a fee-waiver program or for a

The New Year, New Home campaign aims to show Victorians the value of rabbits and cats as
companion animals and how they can make the perfect option for people who live in smaller

Did you know this about rabbits?
• Rabbits love to play with toys.
• Rabbits can be litter trained, just like cats.
• Rabbits thrive on an indoor lifestyle.
• Rabbits are most active during the morning and evening, making them the perfect pet for
those who maintain a busy lifestyle during the day.

Did you know this about cats?
• Cats can live a healthy and happy life when kept contained to the home.
• Cats are fastidiously clean animals.
• While cats require social interaction to be happy, they also love their privacy.
• Like dogs, cats enjoy a regular routine.

All rabbits and cats adopted from RSPCA Victoria are health checked, microchipped, vaccinated and
desexed. For additional information about how to care for rabbits and cats, visit rspcavic.org

22 December 2021

RSPCA’s urgent warning against illegal animal traps

RSPCA Victoria is issuing an urgent reminder to the community after several recent incidents where pet cats have tragically been caught in illegal leg hold traps, advising that these traps must not be set, regardless of the type of animal people are aiming to capture.

Illegal animal traps are specifically designed to cause severe damage, with common injuries including ligament and nerve damage, as well as bone fractures.

RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate Team Leader Belinda Dent said the traps are inhumane and cause extreme pain and suffering for any animal caught in one.

“Too many times we have seen beloved family pets suffer excruciating pain and distress, and it is not uncommon for these injuries to necessitate amputation of an entire limb,” Ms Dent said.

“These serrated steel traps are illegal to use, set and sell, unless they are a permitted trap as prescribed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019.

“Many people are not aware that it’s not just using the trap that is illegal, the act of selling these traps is also prohibited by law. You may come across these traps during a clean out of a shed or property and think selling them is harmless, but they cause real damage to domestic animals in our community and as a seller, you are liable,” she explained.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA), anyone found guilty of using, setting or selling these traps is liable for a maximum penalty of $43,617.60 or up to two years’ imprisonment.

RSPCA Victoria is urging anyone with steel jaw traps in their possession to dismantle them as much as possible to render them inoperable, and then make arrangements to dispose of them.

Anyone who has concerns about the welfare of an animal or has information relating to traps being placed is encouraged to make a report to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate via rspcavic.org/report or by calling 9224 2222.

22 December 2021

Keeping pets cool in summer can save lives

RSPCA Victoria says pets should never be left in hot cars

As the summer season sets in and temperatures rise, RSPCA Victoria is reminding the community that keeping pets safe and cool in the summer can save lives.

Preparation is key when it comes to ensuring the safety of pets during summer and basic precautions can reduce the likelihood of animals suffering from heat stress. Keeping pets cool can be the difference between life and death.

Take note of the temperature for animals who live outdoors and adapt plans to keep them cool. Make sure to include pets in holiday plans and never leave pets in cars, even in milder summer weather.
Dr Liz Walker, CEO at RSPCA Victoria said animals should never be left in hot cars, even for a short time, as the consequences can be tragic.

“It only takes six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car as temperatures can rise to dangerous levels very quickly and can reach double the outside temperature even on mild days. Tinted windows, parking in the shade or leaving windows down do not reduce the inside temperature significantly.
“None of us want animals to suffer in the heat so always make plans for your pets to be kept happy and safe, even in milder summer weather.”

If pets do need to be left outside on warm days, it’s imperative to provide them with shade and multiple sources of cool clean water. Ensure that water bowls can’t be tipped over and always provide more than one water source to account for leaks, evaporation and accidental spillage.

If animals must be left outdoors all day, take note of where the sun and shade fall at the time of your departure and account for how they will shift throughout the day, making sure to provide more than one option for shelter.

When preparing for a holiday, it’s important to include pets in plans, either including them in the travel or ensuring they have proper care from friends, family, neighbours or a pet sitting service.
If pets are left in the home to be cared for by someone else, make sure to let neighbours know so that they don’t mistakenly believe pets have been left alone. RSPCA Victoria received 1163 reports of abandoned animals last financial year, with 384 of these reports during last summer alone.

Responsible pet ownership comes with legal and moral obligations to keep pets safe, including provision of food and water along with adequate shelter and veterinary care. RSPCA encourages pet
owners to be aware of their responsibilities and to make sure their approach to caring for animals is
adapted to warm weather in spring and summer.

20 December 2021

RSPCA offers school holiday fun for young animal lovers

RSPCA Victoria will have a range of fun, engaging and educational programs available for the upcoming school holidays, suitable for animal lovers of all ages.

For the first time, the programs will be available in different formats to suit a variety of audiences - including face to face sessions which are a great option for working parents in Melbourne, as well as virtual programs for those who prefer to participate from the comfort of their home or regional areas.
RSPCA Victoria Education and Training Manager Belinda Marchbank said the classes, taught by professional educators at RSPCA Victoria, offer something for any child with an interest in or love of animals.

“Our School Holiday program this year will offer great variety and choice for kids, providing the opportunity to learn about animal welfare while nurturing their love of all living creatures. There are also programs that you can do as a family for some special holiday time for adults and kids together,” Ms Marchbank said.

“And while there’s some great free virtual options available to everyone no matter where you’re located, there’s also affordable face-to-face offerings that would make a great Christmas present!”
RSPCA Victoria’s school holiday program runs from Monday 10th January to Friday 21st January, with a selection of classes provided free-of-charge. Paid programs will be $49 for children aged 5-7 years, or $85 for children aged 7-16 years.

Some of the programs on offer include:
• Jnr barn crew on-farm visit – Welcome budding farmers to RSPCA’s barn and paddocks.
• Canine companions - Explore the many ways RSPCA Victoria helps dogs in the community and meet some of our happy hounds.
• Story time with guinea pigs - Let’s read a book together from the guinea pig enclosure.
• First aid for pets - Learn about how to help your pet in an emergency.
• All creatures arts and crafts - Meeting our animals will provide plenty of creative inspiration for budding artists and photographers.
• What to do for wildlife – A family session.

Visit RSPCA Victoria’s website to find out more or to book - rspcavic.org/services/education-and-learning/holiday-programs

9 December 2021

Volunteers needed at RSPCA’s Traralgon op shop ahead of Christmas rush

Volunteers are needed at RSPCA Victoria’s Traralgon op shop, with the charity calling on locals to sign up ahead of the Christmas rush. The op shop is operated solely by a team of dedicated volunteers, with all funds raised at the store supporting RSPCA Victoria's work to end animal cruelty.

RSPCA Victoria’s retail and e-commerce manager Stephanie Neil said the organisation is reliant upon volunteers for the day-to-day operations of the Traralgon op shop.

“We are currently on the hunt for volunteers at all of our op shops across the state, including in Traralgon. After a challenging couple of years, we are thrilled to have our doors open again and to be servicing the local community with high-quality and affordable products,” Ms Neil said.

“Volunteering is a great way to support animals whilst also connecting with the community and meeting new people and fellow animal lovers.”  

There are a range of volunteer opportunities in the op shop, with key tasks including customer service, sorting goods and merchandising.

All volunteers are asked to commit to a regular weekly or fortnightly three-hour shift for a minimum of six months.

And if volunteering isn’t for you, there are other ways to support the Traralgon RSPCA op shop, including purchasing from their wide range of new and second-hand goods, or donating your high-quality goods.

“We know many locals have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, and want to remind everyone that we have really high quality products at an affordable price as we approach Christmas,” Ms Neil said.

RSPCA volunteer Val said she loves volunteering in her local op shop.

“I volunteer for the companionship and the social connectedness the work provides. It’s a great reason to leave home every day and I now have friendships with people whom I wouldn’t normally have met.”

RSPCA’s Traralgon op shop is located at 103 Argyle Street. To enquire about volunteering please pop in, or call 0434 316 974.    .

3 December 2021

RSPCA supports proposed ban on horse-drawn carriages in Melbourne’s CBD

Many share concerns for the welfare of horses

RSPCA Victoria welcomes last night’s announcement of the proposed ban on the use of carriage horses in Melbourne’s CBD. 

RSPCA Victoria has long held concerns for the welfare of horses in Melbourne’s CBD, with the Inspectorate regularly attending cases of reported cruelty and concerns from members of the public relating to carriage horses. 

RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of any animal for the purpose of work, or training associated with such use, where injury, pain, suffering or distress is likely to be caused and advocates for the adoption of compulsory and enforced animal welfare standards and a registration and licensing system.

RSPCA Victoria regularly investigates cruelty cases relating to carriage horses. Most recently in April 2021, after receiving a cruelty report, RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate launched an investigation after a carriage horse collapsed and died in North Melbourne.  

RSPCA Victoria supports banning the use of carriage horses in the busy CBD area where horse welfare and safety are severely compromised.

RSPCA Victoria will continue to work to improve the welfare of carriage horses and support the Melbourne City Council and the Victorian Government while the proposed ban is being considered.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of animals is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate via www.rspcavic.org/report or by calling 9224 2222.   

View RSPCA’s Policy on working animals on RSPCA Knowledge Base.

3 December 2021

New report finds cat management vital to stop ecosystem decline

RSPCA Victoria sets ambitious desexing target

Management of domestic cats is vital to curbing their impact on biodiversity and wildlife, according to the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline report tabled in Parliament yesterday.

RSPCA Victoria CEO, Dr Liz Walker, said she was pleased to see effective approaches to domestic cat management and standardisation of cat definitions included as a recommendation in the report.

“The findings and recommendations from the Inquiry illustrate support for improving animal welfare for native and introduced species, including cats,” said Dr Walker. 

In August 2020 RSPCA Victoria contributed to the Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline in Victoria, providing a submission, and presenting at the Inquiry to advocate for humane management techniques for cats, as well as other introduced species. 

“Cats are very popular pets and important companions for many people. However, they can have significant impacts on Australia’s native wildlife. Research has suggested that collectively, cats kill more than three billion animals per year.  For this reason, responsible cat ownership and humane and effective cat management is necessary to protect wildlife. 

“We are pleased the recommendation outlined in the report supports a coordinated approach for cat management including desexing, microchipping and rehoming,” said Dr Walker.

Dr Walker said that RSPCA Victoria recently announced desexing all owned and semi-owned cats in Victoria as an advocacy goal and key focus going forward. 

“This year we set ourselves an ambitious goal of desexing all owned and semi-owned cats in Victoria to improve cat welfare, and importantly to reduce the cat population and the pressure on pounds, shelters, the broader community and the environment,” stated Dr Walker.

Presently 30% of the estimated 3.3 million cats in Australia are not desexed.  Cats can breed quickly and from just four months old, resulting in unplanned litters, causing a cat overpopulation that impacts the welfare of cats and wildlife.  

View the RSPCA’s Identifying Best Practice Domestic Cat Management in Australia (2018) here

Visit Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife, a joint initiative between Zoos Victoria and RSPCA Victoria, to learn about the benefits of keeping cats contained. 

Visit RSPCA Victoria’s website to learn more about our advocacy goals.


22 November 2021

Teesdale resident prosecuted for neglect of 42 Welsh ponies

An animal cruelty case involving 42 underweight Welsh ponies was finalised today in the Online Magistrates’ Court sitting at Geelong, proceeding by way of a guilty plea.

RSPCA Inspectors attended the Teesdale property in February 2019 after receiving a cruelty report relating to underweight horses and observed 47 ponies without any access to pasture or supplementary feed.

Upon inspection, 42 of the ponies had a body condition score of under two. Allowing body condition to fall below a score of two is likely to compromise a horse's welfare. The ribs of the 42 underweight ponies were easily visible, their backbones were prominent and their rumps were sunken due to malnourishment.  One pony was suffering with a large swollen mass over his left cheekbone and died in his stall before he could receive veterinary attention.

RSPCA Victoria attending Inspectors issued a Notice to Comply instructing the accused, a Teesdale woman, to seek veterinary treatment, provide proper and sufficient feed and to consider surrendering or rehoming the ponies. Upon revisiting the property the same day, an RSPCA Inspector and a council ranger were advised by the accused that she had not been paying attention to the condition of the ponies. 

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, any person in charge of an animal is required to provide food, water and shelter, as well as appropriate husbandry and veterinary attention as needed. 

RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said the ponies would have suffered terribly and that animals require regular food and water along with ongoing care and attention in order to live a healthy life.

“Without proper care, animals suffer physically and mentally. Owners and people in charge of animals have a legal responsibility to provide adequate care, and if they fail in that responsibility they may be prosecuted.” said Mr Stagg.

The attending veterinarian who examined the ponies found that 32 were in a severely emaciated condition due to inadequate food intake, which would have been a chronic process, occurring over many months.

In the attending veterinarian’s expert opinion, the poor conditions of the ponies would have been obvious to a lay person and therefore an opportunity existed for the accused to have sought veterinary advice to improve the health and condition of the animals well in advance of RSPCA Victoria attending the Teesdale property.

Neglect continues to be a serious animal welfare concern in Victoria and is the basis for the majority of cruelty reports made to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate. 

The accused surrendered eight ponies into the care of the RSPCA Victoria and a horse rescue group. RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate subsequently attended the property on six separate occasions and observed the remaining ponies gradually gain weight and reach an acceptable body condition.

Today in the Online Magistrates’ Court sitting at Geelong the accused was placed under an s12 disqualification order for a period of one year commencing on 22 February 2022, was ordered to reduce her pony numbers from 24 to 10 ponies and given a period of three months to reduce the numbers. An s21A monitoring order was granted with an inspection ordered to be made on 22 February 2022 to ensure that the numbers have been reduced. The accused was placed on a good behaviour bond for 18 months without conviction and a donation in the sum of $1500.00 was ordered to be paid to RSPCA Victoria.