Tougher penalties needed for animal cruelty

Video report by JEMMA GOMULARZ

Geelong, which has  one of the largest populations of dogs and cats in any Australian town or city,  has also  been deemed the worst for animal abuse in regional Victoria. Statewide, it comes second only to northeast Melbourne.

Recent figures released by the RSPCA show Geelong’s animal cruelty rate has risen by 23 per cent over the past year.

Each year, millions of dollars are spent by the RSPCA to investigate the thousands of cases across Geelong, Melton, Wangaratta, Bendigo, Ballarat, Sale, Pearcedale and Melbourne regions, but recent increases particularly in Geelong have investigators struggling with increased workloads.

Out of the 853 reports in the last financial year coming from southwest  Victoria alone, 474 were from Greater Geelong – a considerable increase from the 386 cases in the previous financial year

And it’s not just the RSPCA who have seen the spike. in June 2013, 429 animals ranging from dogs and cats to birds and reptiles were received by Geelong’s Animal Welfare Society, up from 371 in June 2012, a 15.6 per cent increase on the same month the year before.

Agricultural animals are also part of this disturbing trend. Starvation, botched amateur castrations and owner neglect are just some of what animal investigators are seeing in and around Geelong, suggesting current regulations are not enough.