Home  >  Media centre  >  Latest news

Latest News

More information

If you're a journalist and have any questions about a story, please contact our Media Advisor via the below contact details:

P 9224 2237
E media@rspcavic.org.au



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.

***WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW***

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-