Greater protection for vulnerable animals
4 January 2016
From today new laws are in force that strengthen the powers of compliance officers and the courts to respond to animal welfare emergencies and animal cruelty situations.
Under the amended Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 the Minister for Agriculture can authorise immediate action to alleviate a current or imminent animal welfare emergency including seizure of animals on the premises and provisions to provide care while other arrangements are made.
A person found guilty of any offence, not just a serious one, can now be banned from owning or being in charge of animals for up to 10 years, or for a longer period, including permanently, if they have previously been subject to a similar court order.
Greater powers for compliance officers means they can now apply for court permission to monitor observance of orders, helping to ensure the courts wishes are proactively enforced.
A number of penalties for offences such as live baiting have also increased.
Victoria's Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Charles Milne said that these tough new laws are in response to some of the worst issues of animal abuse or neglect.
"I am pleased to see that these amendments implement the important recommendations from the Animal Welfare and Cruelty in the Greyhound Industry report I delivered earlier this year," Dr Milne said.
"The changes include the first legislative response to live baiting in the greyhound industry."
"It is now illegal to be present where live baiting is occurring. Additionally keeping a range of specified animal species, where greyhounds are trained or raced, is now evidence, unless proven to the contrary, that these animals are being used for bait or luring."
"Compliance officers also have comprehensive powers to seize animals where it is suspected live baiting or luring is taking place and where animals are kept or used for animal fights, such as dog fighting and cock fighting."
"The Government has taken decisive action to address the animal cruelty issues in the greyhound industry by ensuring strong action can be taken against inhumane practices such as live baiting."
Other issues covered under these changes include the tightening of governance arrangements for licensed organisations using animals for research or teaching, and improved powers for officers authorised to monitor compliance with licence conditions.
For details on all of these legislative changes please visit www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/animalwelfare.
Categorised under: Agriculture,Pets