SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

Warning to pet owners after horrific spike in cruelty cases

A heartbreaking new factor is said to be contributing to animal abuse significantly rising in one Aussie state.

The RSPCA has revealed one of the sad new "drivers" of animal abuse, which has skyrocketed in recent years.

RSPCA Victoria told Yahoo News "cost of living pressures" are a relatively recent factor in the alarming trend which has seen an increase in domestic animal abuse in the state.

"The information we get from our inspectors is that the cost of living is really hurting people at the moment and hurting people's ability to be able to care for their animals," Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said. "Whether that’s being able to buy them food, taking them to the vet, grooming."

A photo of Bobby the chihuahua who presented to the vet after being kicked in the leg and having his femur fractured. A photo of a cat that was surrendered along with 80 others from a rural property in Victoria.
Bobby the chihuahua (left) presented to the vet after being kicked in the leg and having his femur fractured. While a cat (right) was one of 80 surrendered to the RSPCA Victoria from one rural property. Source: RSPCA

In Victoria, the number of animals being seized or surrendered annually has sadly doubled from 1,035 in 2017/18, to 2,172 in 2021/22. The second quarter of 2022/23 also saw the highest number in any quarter at 695 rescues.

Owners warned about common summer mistake

Out of the cruelty cases, 46 per cent from 2021/22 are due to neglect — something that is more common in summer.

"Coming out of summer, some of the most common things that we would see would be animals not having adequate water or adequate shelter," Mr Stagg said.

"The number of reports we see is always higher in the summer months than in the winter because it gets hot and sometimes owners don’t realise that animals need more water and shelter during those hotter months."

A photo of Lucy who has her bones protruding from being malnourished and being left in the heat. A photo of Lucy looking healthy after being adopted by Nadia in Victoria.
Lucy was a victim of animal cruelty before finding a loving home with Nadia Peiris (pictured). Source: RSPCA

A recent example is Lucy, one of two dogs seized by the RSPCA at a Victorian home, after being found in the heat when they were left "on a hot, bare concrete slab".

As temperatures climbed past 30C, all they had was a tiny bit of shade. Lucy was found with her bones protruding from starvation. Both dogs have since been nursed to health and re-homed, with the owners being prosecuted.

Other types of neglect include poor hygiene of animals and a lack of grooming.

"Animals that are surrendered or seized, that RSPCA Victoria takes ownership for, are seen by a vet as soon as possible and they receive proper medical attention," Mr Stagg said.

"In circumstances when the animal has very significant health concerns and has a very low quality of life, then they will be humanely euthanised. But those circumstances are rare when animals come into our care."

What are the most common animals rescued from abuse?

According to Mr Stagg, the most common cruelty rescues they deal with are domestic animals, with dogs being the primary group, then cats and horses.

"With more animals coming into RSPCA Victoria’s care — 14,431 in the last financial year — if people are considering adopting a pet, the best thing for them to do is come down and visit an RSPCA shelter.

"To actually have an animal that has suffered from trauma and neglect and be able to give that animal a happy forever home is a great thing."

In Victoria, Geelong and Casey, Wyndham, Hume and Whittlesea are the cruelty hotspots.

If you are concerned about animal cruelty or are struggling to take care of your own pet, call your nearest RSPCA.

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.