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 infridgment 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 unreasonable prolonged. On a guilty conviction 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 RPSCA 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 2021-22

Our data analysis has revealed the hot spots for animal cruelty in Tasmania, with Devonport, Glenorchy, Bridgewater, Ravenswood, and George Town topping the list for requests for animal welfare checks.

There were 57 reports of animal cruelty made to RSPCA Tasmania in Devonport during 2021-22, eight more than Glenorchy which was the second-highest.

Other suburbs in the top five included Bridgewater (48), Ravenswood (40), George Town (37).

Shorewell Park, Ulverstone, Claremont, New Norfolk and East Devonport rounded out the top 10.

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 2021-22 financial year, there were 2018 calls to the RSPCA’s hotline, with 11.6% of the calls forwarded to other agencies to action in the case of wildlife or animals on commercial farms.

Our four full-time Animal Welfare Officers are always busy responding to all these Animal Cruelty allegations, travelling across the state. During the year we investigated 1,846 allegations and conducted a total of 3,456 site visits over the 12 month period.

The notable trend in reports was the increase in trapping offences being reported and an increase in reports relating to the lack of treatment being provided to animals for treatments such as vet, farrier, and parasite treatments. Possibly a result of owners feeling the budget pinch.

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.

Officers accepted and collected over 100 animals as result of them being surrendered or straying. In addition to those, a total of 87 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 sent 55 warning letters, issued one Infringement Notice, and laid 19 charges against a total of 11 Defendants. Several matters were finalised in court this year, one dated back to June 2019, which gives an indication of how long it can take for matters to be resolved through the court process. In total 8 matters were successfully finalised in court, against a total of 10 defendants all of which had charges proven against them.

Most charges, 18 in total, 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).

One charge related to the use of a method of management on the animal which was reasonably likely to result in unreasonable and unjustified pain or suffering to a horse.

Six additional charges related to continuing offences. One defendant made an appeal to the Supreme Court against the conviction awarded in the Magistrate’s Court, RSPCA successfully upheld the appeal.

The largest fine issued was $5000, sentences included a 2-month jail sentence, suspended for 2 years and another of 84 hours community service.

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

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