Record number of pets seized as cruelty cases spike
A record number of pets across Victoria are being subjected to animal cruelty, with new data showing seizures and surrenders to the RSPCA have more than doubled over the past five years.
Nearly 700 animals were seized by or surrendered to RSPCA Victoria's Inspectorate during the second quarter of the 2022-23 financial year, after being deprived of necessities like food, water, or veterinary care.
New research from RSPCA Victoria showed the rates of animal seizures and surrenders increased from 1035 in 2017-18 to 2172 in 2021-22.
During the 2021/22 financial year, RSPCA Victoria's Inspectorate responded to 10,577 cruelty reports, with neglect forming the basis for almost half of all complaints (46 per cent).
RSPCA Victoria chief inspector Michael Stagg said the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis were contributing factors.
"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," Mr Stagg said.
"It is important all pet owners understand the specific needs of their pets in terms of food, water, shelter, grooming and exercise."
He said other types of neglect included poor husbandry, lack of appropriate hygiene and insufficient grooming, shearing and farriery for horses.
Anyone with animal welfare concerns is being urged to contact RSPCA Victoria.