If you see any animal cruelty or emergencies, please contact us straight away.
Animal emergency hotline:
1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589) or 02 9770 7555
RSPCA NSW has Australia’s biggest squad of law enforcement officers
dedicated to policing offences against animals.
We have 31 inspectors in NSW : 14 in the Sydney metropolitan area, 16 located in regional areas around the state and 1 Chief Inspector. Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, RSPCA inspectors have the power to remove animals from owners who are cruel, neglectful or indifferent to their animals’ suffering.
Inspectors investigate more than 15,000 complaints every year. Many of these complaints are dealt with on the spot by educating owners of their responsibility. The cruelty cases are referred to the courts for prosecution.
RSPCA inspectors investigate complaints against all kinds of animals in all kinds of situations. The most common complaints are failure to provide adequate and proper food, shelter or veterinary treatment. Inspectors also investigate:
- abandoned animals
- acts of intentional cruelty and harm
- continually tethered animals (more then 24 hours)
- drought-stricken livestock
- hoarders – people with more animals than they can look after
- pet shops
- sale yards
How we investigate
When to call the RSPCA
RSPCA inspectors aim to prevent cruelty to animals by ensuring the enforcement of existing laws at federal and state level.
Sometimes, there is a fine line between an owner who is simply not aware how to look after their pet properly, and whether the laws under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Legislation have been broken. While the situation may not match how we would like to see animals cared for, if the law hasn’t been broken, the best our inspectors can do is seek to educate the animal’s owner about how better to look after their pet.
Our inspectors also rescue animals and assist with the management of wildlife, livestock and companion animals during emergencies and disasters, and inspect pet shops, sale yards, abattoirs, livestock operations, breeding establishments, and places where animals are kept and used for public entertainment.
Contact your local council if:
- you have lost your pet
- you are concerned about stray animals
- you believe someone’s dog is aggressive/dangerous (or has attacked)
- a barking dog is annoying you
We don’t have the resources to be able to call you back to let you know the progress of your complaint. If you call us to find out what happened, all we will be able to tell you if whether the inspector has visited the premises or not; privacy laws prevent us from giving you more details.
What happens next
After we have sent the details of your call to the relevant inspector, they will prioritise your issue against other calls received. Please note that we have 32 inspectors on the road across the state, which equates to approximately one metro inspector to every 281,250 people, and one regional inspector for every 50,030 square kilometers.
We receive around 12,000 cruelty complaints each year, so our inspectors are constantly weighing up which issue needs their attention first. If the animal is not in immediate danger, it may be a few days before an inspector can investigate.
Our inspectors work closely with national enforcement agencies, in particular the police and local authorities.
We only bring a prosecution where it is necessary and where there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction against each suspect on each charge. When people have shown themselves to be wholly unable to look after animals, it can be the only way to make sure that other animals are not put at risk in the future. Prosecution also serves to reinforce the important message that animal abuse and neglect are not acceptable in a civilised society.
frequently asked questions
Why can’t I make an anonymous complaint?
When making a cruelty report, you will be asked for your name and contact details. These are kept confidential and are never passed on to the offender. They are needed so an inspector can contact you for further information or to take a witness statement. You must have seen the animal and its condition for an inspector to have grounds to enter a person’s property.
What happens if I can’t get through to the hotline?
If an animal is in immediate danger, such as being trapped in a hot car, call your local police who can act under the same laws as an RSPCA inspector.
Why has it taken so long for anything to happen about my complaint?
A cruelty investigation takes time and taking a matter to court can be a lengthy procedure. It sometimes takes months or even years for a court case to be finalised.
What information do I need to provide?
We need you to be our eyes, to enable us to better help you and the animal in question. So we will ask you a lot of questions to ensure we are able to provide the inspector with as much information as possible to help them prioritise the case.
The information you provide is confidential - the person you are lodging a complaint about will never know that you called. We will ask you for:
- your full details, including full name, address, and contact number (these details are hidden under the privacy act)
- the person of interest’s full address and name if possible (please remember our Call Centre is in Sydney, so we may not be familiar with your local area)
- the date and time of incident, or when the animal was last sighted
- a detailed explanation of why you think the situation involves cruelty to the animal
- a physical description of the person if you believe they might be violent or aggressive
What information can I be given during the course of an investigation?
You can ring the cruelty hotline for information at any time. If an investigation has found no breach of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act or if an owner has been issued instructions about the welfare of an animal, you will be given this information. In many cases, however, details of an investigation cannot be given out.
Will I have to go to court?
Yes possibly, especially if you have been an eye witness to cruelty or neglect.
What if no one calls me back?
Email email@example.com and your query will be dealt with as soon as possible.
How You Can Help
How you can help
Looking to adopt a pet? Search now for dogs, cats and other pets available for rehoming at your local RSPCA.
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Every donation helps the RSPCA and its volunteers look after animals, whatever the situation.