Animal Welfare Act Review - Making the Law Better

Animal Welfare Act Review - Making the Law Better

RSPCA WA is calling for members of the public to have their say about the review of the State’s Animal Welfare Act 2002. 

RSPCA WA is making submissions to the Animal Welfare Act Review Panel to highlight deficiencies in the law that currently restrict the operational effectiveness of RSPCA WA Inspectors, along with improvements to allow Inspectors to proactively prevent cruelty to animals.

What needs to change?

RSPCA WA would like to see changes to improve the work of Inspectors including:

1. Impose a duty of care on those in charge of animals

RSPCA WA would like the Act to put a positive duty on people in charge of animals to provide for the animals’ fundamental welfare needs with a breach of this duty possibly constituting an offence.  This will ensure the community is aware of what is required for the proper treatment of animals. 

2. Give RSPCA WA Inspectors the power to issue infringement notices 

The power to issue infringement notices for minor offences increases enforcement options and compliance with the Act. If an infringement notice is issued, the offender would pay a fine without going to court. RSPCA WA Inspectors would still prosecute more serious offences through the court system.  

3. Give Inspectors improved powers of entry

Currently, Inspectors can only enter a property in circumstances relating to a cruelty offence or with notice or consent from the person in charge.  Improving powers of entry would make it easier for Inspectors to:

Ensure people are complying with direction notices;

Ensure people who are prohibited by a court order from being in charge of animals are not breaching that prohibition;

Enter a property to assist distressed animals. For example, if a dog is seen caught stuck in the fence or otherwise at risk;

Inspect facilities where animals are kept or used for commercial purposes at any time*; and

Check compliance with regulations implementing animal welfare standards.

4. Make owners responsible for reclaiming their abandoned animals

Currently, when an Inspector seizes an animal due to abandonment, the Inspector must bring a civil application before the courts to forfeit the animal to the Crown so it can be rehomed (where appropriate). This process takes time and incurs considerable cost. Instead, the onus should be placed on the owner to respond to the Inspector within a specific time frame or the animal will be automatically forfeited to the Crown. 

*please refer to this article about recent developments in the horse racing industry which also highlight the need for change in this regard.

Why does the law need to change?

RSPCA WA considers the above changes to the Animal Welfare Act 2002 to be essential to RSPCA WA Inspectors being able to enforce the law effectively, and to meet the community’s expectations of preventing animal cruelty in Western Australia.

RSPCA WA urges everyone who cares about the welfare of animals in WA to voice their support for change so that animals in WA can be better protected.

What can you do to help?

Public submissions closed at 5pm on Monday 16 December, 2019. 

The Animal Welfare Act Review Panel has also held public forums in Broome, Karratha, Katanning and Perth.

You can contact your local Member of Parliament and let them know that animal welfare is a serious concern and an issue that you care about. Tell them that you expect them, as your representative in Parliament, to support proactive changes to the Animal Welfare Act 2002 to better protect animals in WA.

Who is on the panel and what will they be covering?

For more information about the Review, including the independent panel and the terms of reference, please visit the Department of Agriculture’s website:  www.agric.wa.gov.au/animalwelfare/review-animal-welfare-act-2002

 

 

 

Comments

  • Julie Day:

    13 Nov 2019 18:30:25

    Please change the laws re cruelty to animals people do awful things and get away with it. Name and shame and increase penalties

  • Carmen Davies:

    13 Nov 2019 19:16:04

    Higher penalties for animal abuse.

  • Mary Dunlop:

    13 Nov 2019 20:55:35

    RSPCA powers must be expanded. This must also include being able to intervene much quicker than is now occurring….too many animals are suffering because of the lengthy delays. Far too many abusers are getting away with very small or no penalties at all. Penalties MUST be doubled or trebled and ENFORCED….stop pussy footing around with the perpetrators of this cruelty, especially repeat offenders. Take a leaf out of America’s book and jail these morons for lengthy periods of time….make them think about their cruel actions on innocent sentient beings. Most of these creeps are mentally wanting and should never be in control of any animal and also they need mental health for themselves. There also needs to be a lot more officers on the ground, as the work load and distances are way too large for the them to manage effectively. I’m sure you are all doing your level best, but in many situations it does not translate that way and the term ‘toothless tiger’ is often heard in relation to the RSPCA. Please help to change that for the better and help more animals in a quicker response time than now. I hear and see more affirmative action and winning results from Animals Australia. They are brilliant and so should you be. Good luck and thank you for what you do for the animals.

  • Amanda:

    13 Nov 2019 22:32:53

    What is the RSPCA doing for greyhounds?
    Greyhounds are dogs too, but they are exploited and treated differently.
    What are you doing to stop the racing industry and live baiting???

  • Esther Scholten:

    14 Nov 2019 04:55:49

    You can judge a people by the way they treat their animals. We as a nation are an abysmal failure.

  • Debbie Wales:

    14 Nov 2019 16:26:33

    It is time that RSPCA WA are given more powers to prevent animal cruelty. To be able to hold people to account and to be able to have improved powers of entry. It is beyond time to improve the welfare of voiceless animals. Yours sincerely Debbie Wales

  • Colleen Dillon:

    16 Nov 2019 21:35:00

    I agree with all your submissions and also people who abuse pets should never be able to own any pet ever again also we should have the same punishment as America they should be put in prison for abusing to the extent of killing the pet sorry about wanting these people locked up but I hate animal abuse so much.

  • Sheila mitchell:

    17 Nov 2019 14:22:18

    I would like to see heavier penalties for abusers and give the rspca more accessibility to homes and yards to retrieve animals

  • Allan Rutherford:

    19 Nov 2019 17:40:11

    Stop backyard breeding by making sterilisation law to all pet owners.

  • RSPCA WA:

    04 Dec 2019 10:40:30

    Dog breeding regulations are currently being considered for introduction as law soon, in WA. Desexing of dogs not registered for breeding is one of four key measures being considered to help combat the number of homeless dogs in the community.

  • RSPCA WA:

    04 Dec 2019 10:41:09

    Dog breeding regulations are currently being considered for introduction as law soon, in WA. Desexing of dogs not registered for breeding is one of four key measures being considered to help combat the number of homeless dogs in the community.

  • RSPCA WA:

    04 Dec 2019 10:47:00

    Dog breeding regulations are currently being considered for introduction as law soon, in WA. Desexing of dogs not registered for breeding is one of four key measures being considered to help combat the number of homeless dogs in the community.

  • Estelle Gom:

    12 Dec 2019 18:48:02

    I’d like to see the use of drones particularly for large properties.
    Serial Offenders easily accessed.
    Some Offenders have Mental disorders whom need accessibility to monitor and case assessment or infringement only instead of Court.
    I’d also like to see warnings given and even infringements for repeated making of false or misleading and or harassing or nuisance claims that waste the Inspectors time and resources needed for real cruelty acts claims of real evidence.

  • Estelle Gom:

    12 Dec 2019 18:48:39

    I’d like to see the use of drones particularly for large properties.
    Serial Offenders easily accessed.
    Some Offenders have Mental disorders whom need accessibility to monitor and case assessment or infringement only instead of Court.
    I’d also like to see warnings given and even infringements for repeated making of false or misleading and or harassing or nuisance claims that waste the Inspectors time and resources needed for real cruelty acts claims of real evidence.

  • Deb WA:

    12 Dec 2019 21:07:55

    I think a course for any one that buys a dog or cat, they should pass this course before owning any animal and their should be some kind of check that can be done like a police check before owning any animal.

  • Fiona Lees:

    13 Dec 2019 13:32:13

    Too many animals domestic and farm are suffering due to old and inadequate laws.
    Please listen to the RSPCA and follow their expert guidance in what needs to be done to end the needless suffering of defenceless animals.

  • Lesley Ross:

    16 Dec 2019 10:44:29

    I would like to see it become illegal for dogs to travel in the back of utes. It is not only dangerous for the dogs but very distracting for concerned drivers around them.

  • Elizabeth:

    16 Dec 2019 14:06:25

    Greater penalties for abusers. Magistrates imposing these penalties and show no leniency. Animals treated the same as humans. Greater power to RSPCA. Stop animal abuse. It is the human’s responsibility to protect all sentient beings.

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