Animal cruelty worst in Geelong, Casey in Victoria as RSPCA releases interactive map

The most notorious spots for animal cruelty have been revealed as Victoria’s worst offenders are named and shamed on an interactive map

  • The RSPCA has launched an interactive map showing animal cruelty rates in Vic 
  • New data shows number of reports from 2021/22, resulting in 68 guilty findings 
  • Geelong emerged as worst animal cruelty hotspot with 550 reports, down by 90
  • Casey has remained second with 530 reports, and Wyndham has come in third

Geelong has emerged as the worst animal cruelty hotspot in Victoria for the second year running.

The city, south of Melbourne, was responsible for more than 550 animal cruelty reports to the RSPCA last financial year, although that figure was down by almost 90 reports from 2020/21.

Casey, in Melbourne’s outer southeast, also maintained the second spot with more than 530 reports in 2021/22, compared with almost 580 in the previous year.

The troubling data comes as the RSPCA launches an interactive online map to let Victorians track animal cruelty in their local government areas.

The interactive map shows Vic’s worst animal cruelty spots, 10,500 reports last financial year

When the data is broken down by cruelty reports per capita, Pyrenees Shire Council in the state’s west and Strathbogie Shire Council in the northeast took out the first and second spots respectively in 2021/22.

RSPCA Victoria’s inspectorate responded to more than 10,500 animal cruelty reports last financial year and neglect was the basis for almost half the reports.

That was contrary to the common perception animal cruelty only relates to deliberate and violent acts such as beating and wounding an animal, RSPCA Victoria chief inspector Michael Stagg said.

More than 6800 of the reports involved dogs or puppies, about 1900 involved cats and kittens and 1070 involved horses.

‘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.’

RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg (pictured) says it's important for owners to understand the needs of their pets

RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg (pictured) says it’s important for owners to understand the needs of their pets

The RSPCA said Victorians can take three steps to help end animal cruelty, including making sure their pets have sufficient food, constant access to clean water, adequate shelter and regular vet checks.

If Victorians are struggling to care for their animals they should reach out for help, speak to their vet about options or contact their local animal shelter or RSPCA Victoria.

They should also report suspected cases of animal cruelty to RSPCA Victoria.

RSPCA data shows neglect is the leading cause for cruelty cases, making up half the reports

RSPCA data shows neglect is the leading cause for cruelty cases, making up half the reports

Wyndham in Melbourne’s outer southwest came in third for animal cruelty reports. Hume in the northwest was fourth and Whittlesea, in the city’s outer northeast, was fifth.

RSPCA Victoria’s inspectorate doled out more than 280 notices to comply and finalised 74 prosecutions in 2021/22 – 68 of which resulted in guilty findings.

In the 2020/21 financial year there were an astounding 55,922 cruelty complaints investigated by the RSPCA across Australia.

From this, there were 3812 charges laid and 413 successful prosecutions.  

Queensland emerged as being the worst spot for animal cruelty incidents, with 17,137 cruelty complaints.

The state made up most of the 2021/22 animal cruelty charges, with 2798 charges laid and 238 successful prosecutions.

Over the last six years, there has been an increase nation-wide in both cruelty complaints and prosecutions. 

There has been a 14.6% increase in complaints from 2015/15 to 2020/21, and a 38% increase in finalised prosecutions.