Our animal cruelty shame

Badger is now in care, being readied for a forever home.

By Danielle Kutchel

The City of Casey can add a new title to its belt – but this one isn’t cause for celebration.

For the third year running, the area has recorded the second-highest number of animal cruelty reports in Victoria, according to RSPCA data.

In the 2018-19 reporting year, the RSPCA received 561 reports of animal cruelty in Casey.

That’s up from 462 in 2017-18, itself an increase from 435 in 2016-17.

Only the Greater Geelong City Council ranked higher this year, with 617 reports.

The horrifying result comes after notable cases of animal cruelty made headlines in recent weeks, including a kangaroo that was hit by an arrow and left for dead in Lysterfield Park in January, and a dove that was shot by a blow dart in Cranbourne barely a week later.

More than 11,000 reports were made to the RSPCA Inspectorate from across the state in 2018-19.

The 11,638 cruelty reports received during 2018-19 represent an increase of almost 1,000 reports compared to the previous year (10,642), or 9.4 per cent.

Offences include instances of animals with insufficient food, water or shelter, concerns about hygiene, grooming and housing conditions, reports of underweight animals, sick and injured animals not receiving veterinary treatment, concerns about animals being beaten or wounded and instances of abandoned animals.

In November 2019, thoroughbred gelding Badger and paint mare Dakota were added to the distressing list.

The pair had been watched by RSPCA Victoria senior inspector Dani and her team for three years.

Inspector Dani communicated regularly with their owner, providing information and advice to help improve the care the horses were receiving.

Unfortunately, they were forced to issue the owner with multiple Notices to Comply ranging from the need for basic veterinary care to regular hoof care from a farrier.

Each time, the owner complied however the welfare issues were recurring, and ultimately the owner surrendered both horses to RSPCA Victoria.They are currently in care at an RSPCA Victoria support facility, where they are being provided with necessary treatment before they can be moved to RSPCA Victoria’s Pearcedale location.

Once at Pearcedale they will be provided with time to recuperate, ready for their forever home.

They’re some of the lucky ones.

RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker was disappointed to note that neglect made up the highest proportion of animal cruelty concerns reported, indicating many animals in Victoria are not receiving the most basic standard of care, such as sufficient food, water and shelter.

“Neglect is a form of cruelty, and it is heartbreaking to know so many animals continue to suffer across our state due to lack of basic care,” Dr Walker said.

“We also have significant concerns about horse welfare in Victoria, with 10,601 horses involved in cruelty reports during 2018-19, which represents a 29 per cent increase on the previous year.

““The 2018-19 animal cruelty report statistics clearly illustrate the need for further education and for people to

seek help if they are having trouble providing basic care for their animals.”

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