investigating cruelty

RSPCA Tasmania’s Inspectors protect by investigating cruelty reports.

Our Inspectors are Authorised Officers under the Animal Welfare Act 1993 and the Cat Management Act 2009.

The Animal Welfare Act 1993 has provision for the development of guidelines, which are used for education and regulations which are standards for animal welfare, such as the Animal Welfare (Dog) Regulations 2016.

The role of the Inspectors is two-fold, to respond to an average 2000 cruelty reports each year. Every report to our cruelty hotline is investigated.

The outcome of these investigations is varied and includes, no action being required, the provision of advice, issuing of legal instructions, an on the spot fine in the form of an infringement notice, or charges being laid and a summons to appear in Court.

The Second role of our Inspectors is to  conduct random inspections of premises or locations where companion animals are kept for commercial purposes, for example, pet shops, breeders, animal shelters and boarding kennels.

An Authorised Officer, including our inspectors, are required to work within the boundaries of the legislation under which they are authorised.

The powers of Officers include entry and search of premises where an officer has reasonable belief that an offence has, is or will be committed against an animal.

Officers can only legally remove an animal from a premise via a legal seizure. The seizure of animal occurs where the officer considers that the animal’s life is in danger or any pain and suffering will be unreasonably prolonged. On a guilty conviction the RSPCA can apply to the court for ownership of an animal. Inspectors will always attempt to work in conjunction with owners of animals to improve the animal’s welfare conditions, utilising prosecution as a last resort.

All reports to our Animal Cruelty Hotline are confidential. The images shown throughout our court results page show the effectiveness of our inspectorate, and how donations to RSPCA Tasmania can help our team continue their important work protecting Tasmanian animals.

RSPCA Tasmania will be visiting facilities to ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare (Dog) Regs 2016.

Resources are made available to provide you a checklist in preparation for our visit.

Please report suspected animal cruelty

Animal cruelty complaints 2022-23

Our data analysis has revealed some interesting information about the hot spots for animal cruelty in Tasmania last year. Overall, the number of complaints increased slightly (from 2018 to 2167). However, at the same time, reports from locations with the highest number of calls last year fell significantly.

There were 43 reports of animal cruelty from Glenorchy during 2022-23, down from 47 last year. Devonport was the next highest, with 30 complaints, down from 57 last year.

Other suburbs in the top five included Ulverstone (25), Bridgewater (22), Rocherlea (22).

Thousands of reports of animal cruelty are received by RSPCA Tasmania each year, but only a handful usually reach the state’s courts.

In the 2022-23 financial year, there were 2167 calls to the RSPCA’s hotline. Only a small number of these calls (12%) were forwarded to other agencies to action. These were related to wildlife or animals on commercial farms.

Our four Animal Welfare Officers are always busy responding to all these animal cruelty allegations, travelling across the state. During the year, we investigated 1903 allegations and conducted more than 3,500 site visits.

RSPCA Animal Welfare Officers will always assist animal owners or carer givers where they can. Sadly, however, there are times when further enforcement action is necessary or surrender of the animal is the best outcome for the owner and pet.

Our officers collected 65 animals as result of them being surrendered or straying. In addition, a total of 12 animals were seized to ensure their ongoing care, in accordance with the provisions of section 17 of Animal Welfare Act 1993.

During the year, officers issued 113 notices, sent 65 warning letters, served one infringement notice, and laid 84 charges against a total of 7 defendants.

Prosecutions were finalised in 9 cases, some of which had been in progress for long periods of time.

Most charges were in relation to cruelty to animals by the omission of a duty or the doing of an act, which RSPCA proved caused unreasonable or unjustified pain or suffering to an animal or animals (horse, goats and dogs).

The largest fine issued was $1,200, with costs also being awarded in most cases.

Most of the cases resulted in prohibition orders, which mean the convicted person is banned from owning animals (usually dogs) for a period of time. In 1 case, the magistrate issued a lifetime ban on owning all animals except poultry, and some existing pets.

RSPCA Tasmania Paws - RSPCA Tasmania Inspectorate

Animals through the administration of Tasmania’s Animal Welfare Legislation and if necessary the laying of animal cruelty charges.

RSPCA Tasmania Paws - RSPCA Tasmania Inspectorate

People about the care of animals.

RSPCA Tasmania Paws - RSPCA Tasmania Inspectorate

For more effective laws, through the media, animal welfare committees and the directly lobbying politicians.

All Inspectors have obtained a minimum of a Cert IV in Government (Investigation)
The RSPCA Tasmanian Inspectorate is committed to ensuring good animal welfare throughout Tasmania, as it has done since 1878.
RSPCA Tasmania Inspectorate Investigating Cruelty

Our Team

The Tasmanian Inspectorate has six dedicated staff, in the locations below.

RSPCA Tasmania Paws - RSPCA Tasmania Inspectorate


2 Inspectors

RSPCA Tasmania Paws - RSPCA Tasmania Inspectorate


2 Inspectors

RSPCA Tasmania Paws - RSPCA Tasmania Inspectorate


1 Inspector &

Prosecutions Manager

The State-Wide Prosecutor

Represents the Inspectorate in Court when people suspected of breaching the legislation are summoned.

The team has a variety of backgrounds and experiences including,

  • Working as Inspectors at RSPCA member societies in other states or countries

  • Vet nursing

  • Lawyer

  • Wildlife

  • Enforcement and compliance work

RSPCA Tasmania - investigating cruelty - foster caring - animal adoption - volunteers - animal care centres

Read about Education, Advocacy or Court results

court results

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The Safe Beds & Centrepay Desex programs and animal surrenders are closed between 15/12/2023 until 2/01/2024.
We hope you have a safe and happy festive season.