Animal welfare

What is animal welfare?

Providing good animal welfare isn’t just remembering to take your furry friend for a walk each day or putting food in its bowl. It means providing animals with all the necessary elements to ensure their physical and mental health, and a sense of positive 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.

When we make the choice to adopt or buy an animal, we are committing to the investment that an animal requires. Making sure that the animal is happy and healthy in-turn generates positive behaviour patterns and good habits.

Caring for an animal’s welfare can also include professional training and support, as well as experiential training. The more exposure your pet gets to day-to-day activities, the more mentally fulfilled it will be.

What is Council's responsibility?

Local governments have responsibility for some areas of domestic animal control, as well as public health that has a significant impact on animal welfare. This includes the provision of feedback to state and territory governments in order to change legislation, and for the promotion and maintenance of responsible animal ownership.

The City of Stonnington takes the welfare of animals seriously.

Visit our Pets page for more information on how to care for your pet.

What is the Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP)?

The City of Stonnington has developed a Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) that provides a policy and planning framework and guides the delivery of Animal Management Services for the next four years.

The Plan ensures that Council complies with its obligations, addresses specific matters relating to the management of cats and dogs as required by the Domestic Animals Act (DAA)1994, and 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 and 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.

Should an animal welfare issue escalate, the RSPCA can assist.

What is animal cruelty?

The difference between inadequate animal welfare and animal cruelty is that animal cruelty also includes overt and intentional acts of violence towards animals, as well as neglect.

It’s important to remember that animal cruelty is not just restricted to cases involving physical harm. Causing animals psychological harm in the form of distress, torment or terror can also constitute as animal cruelty. 

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.

An RSPCA inspector has the required authorisation to enter a premises and inspect an animal/s, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, without the presence or knowledge of the occupant. This legislation defines ‘cruelty’ and outlines what powers an authorised inspector has. Victoria Police are also authorised under this Act and can assist the RSPCA in managing complex cases; however, the RSPCA is the primary investigator.

If you have questions or concerns, call our Animal Management team on 03 8290 1333 from Monday to Friday, between 8:30 am and 5 pm.