Animal Welfare & Cruelty

animal cruelty

Council has many responsibilities for the keeping of animals throughout the Shire – promoting responsible pet ownership, animals in public places or considering relevant animal related development applications. 

Council is not however the appropriate regulatory authority for dealing with issues of animal welfare or cruelty, but provides this information from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to assist residents in helping to ensure positive outcomes for animals living across the Shire.

What is animal cruelty?

Examples of cruel acts which could form the basis of a complaint are:

  • Animals which are exposed to extreme heat or cold (e.g. animals left in cars), or which are not adequately sheltered.
  • Animals which are suffering from hunger or thirst.
  • Animals which are hurt or abused.
  • Animals which are left untreated following an injury or illness.
  • Animals which are abandoned or which do not receive regular care.
  • Animals for which their environment is not suited to their needs through size, breed, infirmity etc.
  • Animals which are used to perform an illegal activity, e.g. where dogs or game cocks are encouraged to fight each other. 

Who can I contact if I have a complaint about animal cruelty?

If you suspect or witness cruelty to an animal, you should contact one of the animal cruelty enforcement agencies:

Animal Cruelty complaints can be made online to the RSPCA here.


Animal welfare emergencies

If there is an emergency situation, please immediately contact either:

  • RSPCA NSW on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358) or 02 9770 7555  
  • Southern Highlands Police on 02 4868 7899


What will happen after I make my complaint?

An inspector will investigate the complaint, and make a decision based on the evidence he/she can find, as to what will be done. The inspector may take one or more of the following actions:

  • Provide advice on appropriate care
  • Officially warn the person/s
  • Issue directions to the owner to address welfare issues
  • Issue an infringement notice
  • Collect evidence to begin a prosecution
  • Seize the animal/s

The inspector may then revisit to ensure that directions or advice have been followed, and if they have not, may elect to take other action. 

Dogs die in hot cars

According to the RSPCA, it can take only 6 minutes for a dog to die in a hot car.

For further information about keeping your best mate safe or if you see a dog suffering in a hot car, visit the RSPCA website.