Animal welfare

What is animal welfare?

Providing good animal welfare is more than taking your furry friend for a walk or putting food in its bowl. It means providing animals with the necessary elements to protect their:

  • physical health
  • mental health
  • individual wellbeing.

Whether it’s a bird, a rabbit, a cat or a dog that you’re responsible for, this means providing:

  • a suitable diet
  • shelter
  • safety
  • love and care
  • protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Caring for an animal's welfare may also include professional or experiential training.

The more exposure your pet gets to day-to-day activities, the more mentally fulfilled it will be.

When we make the choice to adopt or buy an animal, we are committing to the investment that an animal requires. Making sure an animal is happy and healthy promotes positive behaviour and habits.

Our responsibility

Local governments have responsibility for:

  • some areas of domestic animal control
  • public health, which can impact animal welfare.

Local governments can also provide feedback to state governments to inform legislation changes and promote the maintenance of responsible animal ownership.

The City of Stonnington takes the welfare of animals seriously.

Visit our Pets page to learn more about responsible pet ownership.

Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP)

The City of Stonnington has developed a Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP). The Plan includes a policy and framework to guide how we deliver animal management services for the next four years.

The Plan will ensure Counil:

  • complies with its obligations
  • addresses specific matters relating to the management of cats and dogs as required by the Domestic Animals Act (DAA)1994
  • evaluates the effectiveness of the Council’s service and programs.

The City of Stonnington’s obligations include:

  • ensuring service effectiveness
  • encouraging responsible pet ownership, attitudes and behaviours within the community
  • establishing initiatives to reduce abandonment or neglect of pets.

Council’s role is to educate, inform and minimise risk associated with pets before an issue escalates.

Report an animal welfare concern 

If you have concerns about an animal's welfare, we suggest reporting it directly with the RSPCA. The RSPCA has the authority to investigate animal welfare issues.

If you need advice on how to report your concern with the RSPCA, call our Animal Management team on 03 8290 1333 or email

What is animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty is an intentional act of violence towards animals. This may also include neglect.

Animal cruelty is not restricted to cases involving physical harm. It can also include psychological harm in the form of distress, torment or terror.

Report animal cruelty

Never turn a blind eye to animal cruelty. If you suspect or see something, say something. Being a responsible pet owner is also about being a responsible member of the community.

If you witness or suspect animal cruelty, including neglect or abandonment, report it to the RSPCA.

The RSPCA has authorisation to enter premises and inspect an animal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986. They can do so without the presence or knowledge of the occupant.

Victoria Police are also authorised under this Act. While they can assist in managing complex cases, RSPCA is the primary investigator.

For urgent matters, please call Victoria Police on 000.

Visit the RSPCA website for more information.