Thousands of animals have been left without food, water or shelter among the many acts of cruelty reported in Victoria.
The state’s RSPCA received 10,642 reports of cruelty to animals in 2017-18 – an average of 29 cases a day – about 500 more than the previous year, figures released on Monday show.
Almost 5000 animals were left without enough food, water or shelter, while 3212 concerns were raised about hygiene, grooming and housing conditions, according to reports to the organisation.
Almost 6200 dogs and puppies suffered the majority of the cruelty, while 1634 cases involved cats and kittens, and 1468 included horses.
Providing the most basic standard of care for animals – like sufficient food, water and shelter – were the highest proportion of offences reported for the third year in a row.
RSPCA chief executive Liz Walker said the statistics revealed more work needed to be done to educate Victorians and improve animal welfare.
“It breaks our hearts to see our inspectors and vets attend to so many animals that are severely malnourished and ill, who clearly haven’t been shown even the most basic level of care,” Dr Walker said.
“These statistics reflect that there is still a lot of important work that needs to be done to educate Victorians and improve animal welfare in our communities.”
The 10,642 cruelty reports contained 18,098 individual offences.
The organisation laid 712 charges against more than 100 people and doubled its compliance notices to 585 in 2017-18, compared to the previous year.
The charges were successfully prosecuted in 111 cases, and another 117 were still before the courts at the end of the financial year.
Inspectors also issued 585 notices to comply in the financial year, up 50.8 per cent on the year prior.
Owners were banned from owning a pet in 54 cases, including 22 decade-long disqualifications and one lifetime ban.
Dr Walker commended RSPCA inspectors for significantly increasing the number of charges laid and compliance orders issued.
Greater Geelong was the council area with the most reports, while Hepburn ranked first on the number of reports per capita.
RSPCA noted that not every report contained a substantiated offence.