The Victorian government has announced updated animal-welfare legislation which promises to “crack down on cruelty”.
With a timely focus on the issue of animals who are forced to suffer on hot summer days, the tougher laws allow RSPCA inspectors, Victoria Police officers, and Agriculture Victoria officers to give a formal “notice to comply” to anyone who commits or is likely to commit a cruelty offence – not just the animal’s guardian.
The government has also reminded the public that police officers have the right to break into cars to rescue trapped animals.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford announced the changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 on Facebook in a post about the importance of never leaving animal companions in the car in hot weather. Speaking about the new legislation, she explained that it would help authorities “crack down on those who neglect their animals”.
The updated legislation is also designed to safeguard other animals who may be affected by hot summer weather. In a statement released by the office of the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, those caring for horses and farmed animals are reminded of their responsibility to look after the animals’ well-being:
Livestock should not be handled or transported during extreme heat. If this is unavoidable, people should plan ahead to avoid handling or transporting their livestock during the hottest times of day, and must schedule access to water and frequent, shady rest stops.
Heat-stressed horses should be fed electrolytes and cooled down by hosing with cool water or placing wet towels over them.
The Premier also spoke about the new legislation on Facebook, writing, “Pets are a part of your family. Treat them that way”.
Being found guilty of cruelty-to-animals charges in Victoria can result in a fine of up to $77,730 or up to two years in prison.
If you see an animal trapped in a car in hot weather, please call Triple Zero immediately. If you witness or are concerned about any other kind of animal abuse, contact the RSPCA.