Animal Welfare and Animal Cruelty

Animal owners are responsible for caring for their animals. Community Rangers investigate and prosecute animal cruelty offences.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, all animals must be provided with proper and sufficient food, water, shelter, veterinary care and other appropriate treatment such as grooming. Animal cruelty offences can carry harsh penalties.

When should I make a complaint?

Agriculture Victoria advises that while the majority of people who own or interact with animals treat them humanely and comply with agreed animal welfare standards, there are instances where this is not the case and an investigation is needed to identify whether a breach of legislation has occurred.

The following is a list of examples of acts that could be the subject of a cruelty complaint:

  • animals in immediate danger of death or harm (such as a dog locked in a car on a warm day or an animal that cannot get up and is distressed)
  • animals that are hurt or abused
  • neglected or abandoned animals
  • animals suffering from untreated injury or disease
  • animals that are not receiving adequate food, water or shelter
  • animals that are being used in illegal activity (such as dog fighting or cock fighting)
  • animals that have been deliberately poisoned (other than for the control of declared pests).

Who should I report a complaint about animal cruelty to?

Animal cruelty can be investigated by Inspectors authorised under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) 1986 from a number of agencies.

If you witness cruelty or suspect that cruelty is occurring you should consider contacting the relevant enforcement agency.

If you are unsure of which agency you should contact, call 000 for an emergency or Council's Community Rangers via telephone (03) 5832 9700 for advice. Council's Community Rangers will provide advice on the most appropriate agency to contact.

Incident Contact
Road transport accident involving animals (for example: a truck rollover) Victoria Police
Phone: 000

Commercial Livestock

Wildlife Cruelty

Animal Welfare Victoria Inspectors
Phone: 136 186
Wildlife (injured or sick) DELWP

Companion animals

Non-commercial livestock (for example horses and hobby farm animals).

Complaints regarding cruelty to invasive animals (for example illegal use of traps and setting of dogs on feral pigs).

Phone: (03) 9224 2222
Animal Cruelty within Greater Shepparton City Council Greater Shepparton City Council
Phone: (03) 5832 9700
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

For more information, please visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

What information is required when making a complaint?

  • a description of the alleged cruelty, in as much detail as possible – a description of the animal(s) involved, the location, and condition of the animal(s).
  • contact details for the people involved in the alleged offence – the name, address and phone number if known. If unknown, a description of the person or people involved should be provided.
  • your details – your name, address and phone number. These may be required during the course of an investigation (for example to clarify information or obtain further information on the location of animals). Your details will be kept confidential.
  • any other information that may be of assistance to the Inspector such as a vehicle registration number, photographic or video evidence. If you know that the people involved may be affected by drugs or alcohol or are likely to become violent you should inform the organisation.