The number of animal cruelty cases in the ACT has risen by 40 per cent in the last year, according to the RSPCA.
RSPCA inspectors investigated 1,061 complaints of animal cruelty in the 2013/14 financial year.
It represents an increase of nearly 400 on the previous financial year when the RSPCA investigated 668 complaints.
Chief Executive of the RSPCA in the ACT Tammy Ven Dange said inspectors had cracked down on repeat offenders.
“Overall we’re giving people less chances, we’re not going to go back and see a skinny dog seven times before we take them,” she said.
“We’ll probably give them one, maybe two chances and if they can’t look after their animals we need to go find someone who can.”
Ms Ven Dange said animal owners should be aware of the consequences of mistreating their pets.
“Perception will change and once people realise, look, we’re going to be watching you,” she said.
“If you have an animal and you can’t take care of them or if you’re purposely abusive to it we’re going to take the animal and we’re going to take you to court.
“It is a tougher stance and I’m hoping that people will realise that, and once they realise there is a consequence for not looking after their animal properly, maybe there’ll be less of that.”
But Ms Ven Dange warned the increase in investigations had stretched the RSPCA’s resources.
“We only have two inspectors at the moment, and I’ve just freed up some funds to make sure we can get a third one one,” she said.
“We’re slowly getting through a backlog of cases that we need to get through court.”