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RSPCA WA Goldfields inspector says animal cruelty figures concerning but encouraged by public making reports

RSPCA WA Goldfields inspector Fiona Brown says failing to provide food, shelter and vet care are key issues for Kalgoorlie-Boulder, which this week was revealed to be the top regional WA area for animal cruelty reports.

There were 231 reports of cruelty made to the animal welfare organisation in the past 12 months, a 12 per cent increase on the previous financial year.

This saw the Goldfields town assume the top regional WA rank from the City of Greater Geraldton, which recorded a 15 per cent drop to 192 reports. Bunbury was third, recording a 20 per cent increase to 152 cases.

“Kalgoorlie-Boulder is such a transient town; we also get a lot of reports about pets being abandoned when owners move away,” Ms Brown told the Kalgoorlie Miner.

“While the figures are concerning, it’s also an encouraging sign that people are picking up the phone and calling us when they see something’s not right.

“We know reports are higher in areas where inspectors are based because people see us out on the roads and know they can call us for help.

“Most cruelty reports are a result of neglect rather than intentional abuse and we know financial stress and lack of knowledge about proper animal care can play a key role.

“If you see someone struggling to care for their pet, please encourage them to reach out for help sooner rather than later to prevent suffering.”

She said dogs and puppies accounted for most reports in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, followed by cats and kittens.

“I’m also regularly called out to address welfare issues with larger animals, like horses and livestock,” she said.

“We run a range of support programs to help owners going through tough times, such as community action days and our pet sterilisation program.

“I also visit remote communities in the Goldfields wherever possible, offering free advice and pet supplies.”

Ms Brown said education and schools were important in establishing compassion towards animals early on.

“I present to students and the organisation also offers a free AWARE education program, and I’d love to see this resource picked up by more local schools,” she said.

“We want to stop cruelty at the start by teaching the next generation respect and compassion towards animals.

“Education is part of the daily role of an inspector.

“Early intervention and the guidance inspectors provide for local pet and livestock owners is critical to preventing animal cruelty.”

Ms Brown urged the public to continue the high rate of reporting.

“The public is our eyes and ears on the ground, so my message is to please keep reporting cruelty and neglect when you see it online or through the 24-hour Cruelty Hotline on 1300 CRUELTY (278 3589),” she said.

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