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RSPCA ACT welcomes passing of new Animal Welfare Laws

RSPCA ACT welcomes the passing of the Animal Welfare Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 which was debated in the Legislative Assembly Today.

RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson said that the organisation is in favour of many amendments in the bill, and she thanked the members of the Assembly for their support towards continuous improvement in animal welfare outcomes.

“The team at the RSPCA ACT want to see the absence of cruelty to animals.  We need strong laws to help protect animals and to deter animal cruelty.  We also need strong sentencing to be passed down for animal cruelty offences that will bring consequences for animal cruelty in line with community expectations.”

The RSPCA in the ACT believes that most Canberrans are responsible and loving pet owners, and foresee very little impact that the changes to the Animal Welfare Legislation will have on responsible pet owners or businesses who have animals on site.

The additions and amendments could, however, have a significant impact on people who continuously neglect or who have no regard for the welfare of animals in their care.

“The RSPCA ACT will continue to work with the community in the first instance to change negative behaviours, but when necessary, our Inspectorate’s ability to take punitive and corrective measures will now be strengthened by the additional offences and offence categories which have been included in the new laws.”

RSPCA ACT is in favour of many amendments in the bill, including:

  • Animals being recognised as sentient beings.
  • Interim ownership bans being improved and permanent prohibition on animal ownership being introduced.
  • New offences and offence categories being included, in particular a clean and hygienic environment.
  • A framework for regulating pet businesses being introduced.
  • A range of strict liability offences being introduced.
  • Increases in maximum penalties, for example the Aggravated Cruelty offences.

RSPCA ACT has high hopes that the introduced legislation will continue to stimulate debate on how Canberrans can increasingly be responsible pet owners, as well as advocates for high standards of animal welfare and well-being.