REVEALED: Southern Downs hotspots for animal neglect
ANIMAL abuse complaints across the Southern Downs have dropped in the past 12 months, despite pet ownership increasing through COVID-19 lockdowns.
New data released by the RSPCA shows that Warwick has recorded 74 complaints to date this year, while in 2019, the region recorded 81.
It’s a decline RSCPA media advisor Michael Beatty said was surprising given the increase in pet ownership through 2020.
“When it comes to this period since we’ve had COVID, I don’t think there’s been a noticeable rise – the complaints have remained pretty steady,” Mr Beatty said.
“We were worried the complaints or returns may increase with people who got animals and realised they can’t look after them.
“We haven’t noticed a really large increase because of that.”
Across the region, Killarney saw the greatest drop – recording just three complaints in 2020 as opposed to 12 last year.
Heading into the warmer months, Mr Beatty said RSPCA inspectors and Department of Agricultural and Fisheries officials would be on high alert.
“A lot of the complaints that we get are in regard to neglect or animals that have been left with inadequate food, water and shade, particularly coming into the warmer months,” he said.
“We’re going to get issues with heat stress and that type of things.”
Mr Beatty stressed the importance of dog owners ensuring their pets were safely secured on the backs of cars when travelling.
“Every summer, we get issues with dogs that have been left in hot cars or on the back of ute trays standing on the hot tin, which can cause major problems,” he said.
“I would really like to point out that it’s not the graziers that do this. If they’ve got a dog on the back of the ute, it’s secured and if it’s parked, it’s in the shade.”