RSPCA Qld has welcomed the announcement by the State Government that it would be instigating a review of all aspects of the Animal Care and Protection Act (2001).
“It’s been twenty years since the Act was introduced and we believe there are a number of areas where it could be improved, leading to better animal welfare outcomes all round,” said RSPCA Qld Chief Inspector Daniel Young.
RSPCA Qld receives thousands of complaints from members of the public who believe that the sentences for animal cruelty and neglect are too lenient or inconsistent.
Currently the maximum penalty for organised dog fighting offences is one year’s imprisonment.
“We believe it should be 3 years which is in line with the current penalty for animal cruelty,” continued Chief Inspector Young. “There are also inconsistencies in relation to the penalties imposed for neglect. We see many serious or large scale neglect cases that result in significant harm to large numbers of animals or to one animal over a long period of time, and in these cases we believe the current maximum penalty of 1 year’s imprisonment is inadequate.”
“We’d also like to be able to enforce a prohibition order made in another state. Most other states and territories can enforce Queensland prohibition orders, but when animal welfare offenders move to Queensland with a prohibition order, they are free to own animals, despite any prohibition order in existence elsewhere in the country.”
Another issue that RSPCA believes should be addressed by legislation is the care and rehoming of seized animals. “Animals are often having to wait years in RSPCA care before we can legally rehome them, and given that they are the focus of our legislation, this is one area that we believe requires urgent attention. Whether we seize one or a hundred animals, our most important outcome is to ensure that animal is protected from further harm and is able to live their lives in a home where they are safe, loved and well cared for.
“There are a number of aspects of the Act that need to be reviewed,” said RSPCA Qld CEO Darren Maier. “All of us at the RSPCA are highly motivated and encouraged to have been invited to be a key stakeholder in the review process. We ask the community to join us in making submissions and being the voice for the animals.”
Community members can submit their valued input to the Animal Care and Protection Act review process here.