Seized animals: why they need new homes faster

Animals Animal Cruelty Animal Welfare Pet Care Rescue RSPCA Inspectors Posted May 7, 2021
Why can’t you just seize animals and rehome them straight away?

It’s easy to think that when RSPCA Inspectors take action by seizing animals from people when there’s a welfare concern, that we can simply put that animal up for adoption and find a loving forever home. Sadly, it’s not that simple. Here’s why.

When an animal is seized by our Inspectors due to a welfare concern, if an owner refuses to surrender that pet’s ownership to the RSPCA, this means animals can stay in the RSPCA’s care for months and even years while the matter is taken to court. 

Currently, under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, there is no provision that allows courts to make orders with respect to transferring ownership of seized animals until after a prosecution has finalised with a conviction. This means that right now, animals are in limbo, waiting for court decisions in order to start a new life and be adopted into loving homes. These decisions can take years.

We’d like to share with you a recent case where German Shepherd dogs were seized by our Inspectors due to inappropriate living conditions and remained in RSPCA care for over two years while the owners appealed the seizure and defended breach duty of care charges in court.

Here are some of the key areas RSPCA Qld will be focusing on in our submission:

  • Increase penalties for aggravated offending.
The current maximum penalty for Duty of Care offences is 1 year imprisonment. We are calling for higher penalties for more serious, aggravated offences, in line with community expectations.

  • Prioritisation of seized animals
Right now animals can wait years for a court decision before being able to start a new life, and this often comes at a cost to their welfare. We’re advocating for courts to have the power of transfer of ownership for seized animals.

  • Adequate enforcement of Prohibition Orders
Calling for prohibition orders (the limitation of animal ownership on the convicted) made in other jurisdictions in Australia to be enforceable within Queensland.

  • Tethering of animals
Calling for amendments to expressly prohibit tethering of animals without reason.

The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 is currently being reviewed by the State Government. This is the legislation under which our Inspectors in Queensland operate when investigating cases of animal cruelty and neglect.

For the first time in 20 years, you’re welcome to have your say by voicing your thoughts by May 21, 2021 in a submission to the government here.

To help animals avoid staying in limbo for years while their ownership is contested in court, you can have your say here on the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 review.

kirby happy new home

Emma Lagoon
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