In Victoria alone, RSPCA Inspectors receive more than 12,000 complaints of animal cruelty every year. Add to that the number of local government investigations into such complaints and the numbers are horrifying.

The Liberal Nationals believe the laws in place to deal with animal cruelty need to be enforced with more vigour to send a clear message to perpetrators, and to provide a real deterrent to this type of behaviour

Just this month in Victoria, two major cases of animal cruelty sent shock waves through the community. In the first example, a pet cat was found in north-east Melbourne with its neck, tail and leg bound with cable ties and a threatening note attached around its neck. The cat had also been sprayed with an odourless green substance. In another shocking incident, a sheep was found with electrical tape wound around its muzzle. The ewe’s muzzle was swollen and the tape was restricting her nasal passages and preventing her from breathing properly.

Last year the state government’s first animal welfare strategy revealed plans for a major shake-up to protect animals in domestic, agricultural and natural settings. The laws will allow for earlier intervention to prevent animal cruelty and better reflect modern community expectations of their treatment.

While the Liberal Nationals support tougher penalties, they say the action plan’s release followed the Victorian Opposition letter to the anti-corruption watchdog in December asking it to investigate whether the Andrews government used public funds to secure a preference deal with the Animal Justice Party at the Northcote by-election in November.

While the Andrews Government dismissed the claims, it quickly released new plans for the animal cruelty strategy.

The Liberal Nationals will not tolerate animal cruelty and expects the current government to stand by its word to bring perpetrators to justice with more expedience and greater effect. The Victorian community expects no less.

Anyone who has concerns for the welfare of an animal, is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria on 9224 2222 or at rspcavicorg