Report animal cruelty or neglect
If you're concerned about an animal’s welfare or suspect or witness cruelty, call the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade's Animal Welfare Branch on 1300 720 386.
All calls received by the Animal Welfare Branch are confidential and you can stay anonymous.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When to call
A person in charge of an animal must look after its welfare and protect it from neglect and cruelty.
You can make a complaint if you see any of the following examples of cruel acts to an animal:
- exposure to extreme heat or cold such as leaving an animal in a car or without proper shelter
- suffering from hunger or thirst
- being hurt
- an injury or illness not treated
- being put in an unsuitable environment such as:
- a space that is too small and does not have enough space to exercise
- at risk of death or injury
- deliberately baited or poisoned
- used to perform an illegal activity such as dogs or birds being encouraged to fight each other.
If you're not sure if an animal welfare inspector should investigate a situation, you should discuss it with the Animal Welfare Branch.
You can make a complaint anonymously, but the Animal Welfare Branch likes to have your contact details so they can follow up for more information if needed.
Your contact information is kept strictly confidential, but if a matter results in a court case, your name may be asked for by the court.
Information you need to provide
When you make a complaint you will need to provide as much of the following information as possible:
- the location of the animal(s) including address details if it is a specific place, or description and registration number if it is a vehicle
- who is involved including name/address/phone number of the person/s involved if you know them
- a clear description of all people involved
- why you are concerned
- the type and number of animals involved
- what you think is the problem and as much detail as possible about the animal's condition
- when it happened including the date and time when you noticed the problem.
You should provide any other information you think might help the inspector investigate the complaint.
Things like if there are aggressive dogs at the address, if the people involved are known to be abusive or violent, or if you can provide the names and addresses of other witnesses to the cruelty.
You must not give false or misleading information. If you do you can be charged with an offence.
How a complaint is investigated
When you make a complaint, the Animal Welfare Branch will assess the immediate risk to the animal and forward the information to a local authorised inspector or police officer.
Inspectors need reasonable grounds before they can enter private property and may contact you for more information.
The inspector will investigate your complaint and may do any or all of the following, depending on circumstances:
- take no further action
- provide advice and education for the owner on proper care of the animal
- direct the owner to address the welfare issues
- collect evidence to begin a prosecution
- take the animal or animals away
- re-visit the property later to check that directions or advice have been followed.
A veterinarian or animal specialist can also be called in for advice.
You can't find out the exact outcome of your complaint for privacy and legal reasons.
You can find out if it was investigated and if any offence was found.
Last updated: 28 September 2020
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