#Animal Welfare
WA State Government

Dear Hon. Premier Alan Carpenter

We, the undersigned, have written to express our concern over the incomplete implementation of animal welfare laws and a deteriorating situation relating to responsible pet ownership.

We, the people of Australia are committed to animals and the indispensable value they provide us with. We are dependent on them for our agricultural production, trade and consumption, and we rely on our family pets for companionship and emotional wellbeing. The Animal Welfare Act of 2002 has achieved some great feats in increasing the penalties for torturing, mistreating and otherwise causing unnecessary harm to animals.

Furthermore, we commend the action the State government has taken to monitor the situation by the hiring and training more animal welfare inspectors. As is regularly the case though, enforcement is a huge problem, as signified by the overload in animal cruelty complaints experienced by animal welfare groups (namely the RSPCA) and the closed-door nature of procedures that occur within animal warehouses and illegal operations.

Despite the 11 000 calls fielded by the RSPCA WA inspectorate in 2007, which led to 2,896 animal cruelty investigations; prosecutions were implemented against just 42 people. Although we appreciate that not all complaints can be dealt with due to legal limitations and rules of evidence; the backlog of complaints themselves, and the insufficiency in conducting successful investigations and prosecutions leaves a lot to be desired. I myself launched a complaint about 2 separate offences by the same individual that were overlooked by the RSPCA, most likely due to lack of resources or evidence.

The offender drowned my friend’s cat on his first offence, and slashed her kitten’s throat on his second offence. Two of her other cats are also missing and I presume also killed. We think it’s unacceptable that an individual can get away with killing someone’s family pet, and have written to take action against such cruelty. Moreover, recent cases such as the string of severe animal related offences in QLD (reported in the Brisbane Times) highlight the urgent need for increased investigation resources, and deterrence through the implementation harsher penalties for animal cruelty.

Furthermore, another alarming matter that requires immediate thought and desperate action is the increasing number of pets who are being neglected, abandoned and allowed to breed limitlessly. In 2006/2007, the RSPCA WA Animal Shelter recorded a 26% increase in dogs received and a 68% rise in the number of cats taken in. Moreover, up to 80 unwanted kittens were being put down per day at the Shenton Park Cat Haven over the post-Christmas period.

These figures are simply unacceptable and we recommend that new legislation be implemented to curb the number of pets being abandoned and euthanased.

The aim of this letter and petition is to raise animal cruelty and abandonment as a matter of urgency for the State government and a matter that should be given deep consideration and action in the pre-election campaign.

Our suggestions for government action on this matter include:

• Increasing the funding of animal welfare organisations such as the RSPCA to hire and train animal cruelty investigators, as well as to assist in running its varied and beneficial community schemes. We make the suggestion, in line with RSPCA WA’s recommendation in their Annual Report (2007) that the annual government contribution should be increased from the $250 000 it was providing to $1.25 million.

• Raising awareness of animal cruelty as a matter of public importance in the pre-election campaign.

• Implementing new pet sterilisation laws that requires pet shops and animal shelters to create contracts with new pet owners to ensure that animals will be vaccinated and sterilised to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and curb the alarming rate of pet abandonment.

• Increasing the maximum penalty from a $50 000 fine to a $150 000 fine for more severe animal welfare-related offences, and the maximum jail term be increased from 5 years imprisonment to 8 years imprisonment.

• Implementing policy objectives that support the legal, behavioural and physical needs of domestic and farm animals.

• Ensuring that Corporations and individuals comply with relevant animal welfare legislation, by increasing investigative power and resources over companies and individuals.

We are hopeful that the WA government will expand on its progress in improving the conditions of WA domestic and farm animals. We would be most appreciative if our positive recommendations for change were considered.

We appreciate your time and concern in this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

The Undersigned.

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The Support responsible pet ownership and tougher sanctions for animal cruelty petition to WA State Government was written by Celia and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.