Region high on animal cruelty list

Callum HunterSouth Western Times

Six of WA’s top 10 regional hotspots for animal cruelty are in the South West, according to 2018 figures recently released by the RSPCA.

The cities of Bunbury and Busselton and shires of Harvey, Collie and Capel were ranked at numbers four, five, seven, eight and nine respectively, a revelation that gravely concerned RSPCA WA chief executive Iain Torrence.

“The most common cruelty complaint received across the South West last year was ill-treatment,” he said.

“This code encompasses a range of cruelty concerns, from intentional acts like kicking an animal to neglect which results in suffering.

“RSPCA WA currently has five prosecutions pending in the South West.”

Other common reports from the region last year included abandonment, insufficient food and water, failure to alleviate harm and, in Bunbury and Busselton in particular, dogs being left unattended in cars.

Harvey shire president Tania Jackson said it was disappointing to see her shire ranking at number five, but held hope community awareness would help drive the number of reports down.

“We are in an area that has a lot of people concerned for the welfare of animals,” she said.

“I’m sure given our compassionate community, this has a big part to play in identifying those instances.”

Mr Torrence shared these views and said while the figures indicated an increase in animals’ suffering, they could also be an indication more people in the region were standing up for animal welfare.

“We do know that year on year the number of calls to RSPCA WA’s cruelty hotline is increasing,” he said. “Our ultimate aim is to prevent animal cruelty and we know that one of the best ways of doing that is through support and education.”

In February this year, more than 150 people attended a community action day in Bunbury hosted by RSPCA WA where 50 pets were given health checks and more than 95kg of dog food was distributed for free.

Mr Torrence urged the community to continue reporting animal cruelty.

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