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Animal cruelty concerns for the City of Whittlesea

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The City of Whittlesea is among the top five local government areas in Victoria for animal cruelty reports.

There were 340 reports of animal cruelty in the City of Whittlesea to RSPCA Victoria in 2021-22.

According to RSPCA Victoria’s animal cruelty data, the top five municipalities were Greater Geelong, Casey, Wyndham, Hume and then Whittlesea.

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The previous year there were 343 reports in Whittlesea – also ranked fifth highest in the state.

A new online interactive map launched last week allow the community to track rates of animal cruelty in their own local government area and across the state.

The interactive animal cruelty map on the RSPCA Victoria website shows where localities rank for animal cruelty over the past two financial years.

RSPCA Victoria’s inspectorate has responded to 10,577 cruelty reports across the state in the past financial year.

Neglect is the basis for almost half, 46 per cent, of the reports – meaning people had reported knowledge of animals subjected to lack of food, water, shelter or veterinary care. Other types of neglect included poor husbandry, lack of appropriate hygiene and insufficient grooming, shearing and farriery for horses.

RSPCA Victoria chief inspector Michael Stagg said by raising awareness of the most prevalent types of animal cruelty, the community could work together to do better for Victoria’s animals.

“For many, the perception of animal cruelty relates to deliberate acts such as beating or wounding, and while this does occur, the data consistently shows the most common form of cruelty is neglect,” he said.

“There are many responsible pet ownership resources available, and we encourage anyone who is the owner or person in charge of animals to be aware of their responsibilities to provide care, or alternatively to seek help from their local council, a veterinarian or animal welfare organisation.

“We acknowledge that in addition to the rising cost of living, which may impact the ability of some to care for their pets, many Victorians adopted pets during the pandemic, some as first-time pet owners who may still require information or support to help them understand how to best care for their animals.

“It is important all pet owners understand the specific needs of their pets in terms of food, water, shelter, grooming and exercise.”

Mr Stagg said owners or people in charge of an animal had legal and moral obligations to the animal in their care.

“RSPCA Victoria is committed to helping people better care for their pets, however neglect is against the law and is never acceptable. Therefore, we will hold people to account if they do not meet the required standards of care,” he said.

The City of Whittlesea took over management of the Epping Animal Welfare Facility earlier this year in bid to deliver a higher standard of animal care and allow council to develop further partnerships across the animal welfare sector.

Of the 10,577 animal cruelty reports in the 2021-22 financial year, 6846 reports involved dogs and puppies; 1922 involved cats and kittens; and 1070 were horses.

RSPCA issued 287 notices to comply, finalised 74 prosecutions, resulting in 68 guilty findings and 46 disqualification orders.

The RSPCA has released three steps to help Victorians stamp out cruelty –

Step one: if you have pets or are in charge of animals, make sure they provide them with sufficient food; access to clean water all the time; adequate shelter; clean, secure living space; regular veterinary checks and prompt vet care if unwell or injured; regular grooming; dental checks and farrier visits for horses.

Step two: if you are struggling to care for your animals don’t ignore the problem – reach out for help. Speak with your vet about options; contact your local animal shelter or RSPCA Victoria; or consider surrendering your pet to an animal shelter so it can receive proper care and be rehomed.

Step three: if you are concerned about animal cruelty, report it to RSPCA Victoria by phoning 9224 2222 – open 24/7; or visit and make an online report.

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