Caring for animals during stage three restrictions is an obligation

RSPCA Victoria is reminding people that they still must provide proper care for their animals during the COVID-19 stage three restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Importantly, this includes caring for animals on agistment properties and arranging veterinary care when required.

Given the recent amendments to the COVID-19 restrictions and reinstatement of the stay at home directive, RSPCA Victoria understands many animal owners may be feeling anxious about their ability to care for their animals without being subject to fines.

RSPCA Victoria is reaffirming that travel to care for animals is allowed during stage three restrictions after a member of the public was issued with a penalty infringement notice for travelling to feed her horse and encourages Victorians to check Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services website for confirmation.

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services advises that people can leave home to attend to animals that are not located at their place of residence. However, they must abide by the same rules as if they were at home, including practising good hygiene, including washing and sanitising hands before and after handling animals and their equipment, bedding or food.

RSPCA Victoria’s Head of Inspectorate, Terry Ness, said people are required under the law to provide proper care for their animals including feed for horses and livestock and the current COVID-19 situation does not absolve them of these responsibilities.

“Our RSPCA Inspectors are encountering many people who are unsure about whether they are able to travel to feed their animals or take them to a vet – we want to remind everybody that they are still able to provide proper care for their animals during this time,” said Mr Ness.

“Animal owners also need to ensure that they continue to provide all the necessities for their animals including enough food, water, shelter, along with things such as regular hoof care by a farrier, dentistry and appropriate rug wear for horses.

“People who agist their horses must also continue to visit and check on them regularly to provide proper care, and people who own or operate agistment facilities must continue to treat and care for the animals on the property and maintain the facility.”

Anyone who has concerns about the welfare of an animal is encouraged to make a report to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate.

All reports made to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate must be lodged via www.rspcavic.org/services/tip-off or by calling 9224 2222. Facebook messages and emails through unofficial channels do not constitute an official cruelty report.

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