By Alesha Capone
RSPCA Victoria has received 348 reports of animal welfare issues in Wyndham in 12 months.
This placed Wyndham fourth in the state for the number of reports received by municipality by the charity, for the 2020/21 fiscal year.
Greater Geelong ranked first on the list with 640 reports, followed by Casey (577 reports) and Hume (386 reports).
Statewide, the RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate responded to 10,745 reports of cruelty, with complaints of willful cruelty increasing 13% from fiscal year 2019/20.
Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said the correlation between COVID-19 closures and an increase in animal cruelty reports was “a really concerning trend.”
âCOVID has created a lot of pressure on people,â he said.
âWith financial stress, mental health, or drug and alcohol problems, animal cruelty and neglect tends to increase.
âIt is also possible that reports have increased due to people staying at home for longer periods of time. “
Of the 348 reports filed for animals in Wyndham, 128 concerned husbandry issues such as grooming, poor hygiene or living conditions.
Eighty-six reports were of sick or injured animals receiving insufficient treatment, with 79 reports of underweight animals.
Sixty-nine reports involved animals with insufficient shelter and 59 animals with insufficient water provided for them.
Fifty-seven reports concerned animals beaten, injured, abused, tormented or terrified.
Fifty reports concerned animals with insufficient nutrition and 30 abandoned animals.
Over 220 of the Wyndham reports involved dogs, 61 reports involved cats, and 22 birds.
Fourteen reports concerned puppies, 14 others mentioned kittens, 13 concerned poultry, 12 concerned rabbits and 10 concerned horses.
RSPCA Victoria Inspection veterinarian Dr Rebecca Belousoff said animal neglect far outweighed other forms of cruelty reported statewide.
âThe high number of reports of cruelty involving animal neglect is sad and frustrating given how preventable most of them are,â Dr. Belousoff said.
“What people don’t realize is that lifelong medical and behavioral problems can result from starvation or not getting veterinary treatment in time.”
Report animal welfare issues to RSPCA Victoria at www.rspcavic.org/report or by calling 9224 2222.