Spike in animal cruelty reports - social media to blame?
DROUGHT and social media may be contributing to a rise in animal cruelty reports in Warwick.
Statistics from the RSPCA show a 22.5 per cent increase in reported cases in Warwick this financial year compared with last.
Cases of emaciated animals are one of the issues RSPCA inspector Shawn Jansen deals with during dry times.
"We do see more cases, but (drought) is not a reasonable excuse to have poor stock or horses," Mr Jansen said.
Warwick has been named one of the towns accountable for a rise in animal cruelty reports around the region.
Figures show 80 more cases across the Darling Downs compared with the previous year.
But Mr Jansen said he was not alarmed by the figures, which may suggest increased vigilance in reporting.
"We are taking a lot more reports via social media and via emails," he said.
Reports of animal cruelty did not always reflect outcomes, Mr Jansen said.
The most common reports received by the RSPCA were duty of care breaches, where an owner had failed to provide appropriate food and water and living conditions.
Animal cruelty cases were defined as those where a person unnecessarily, unjustifiably, or unreasonably inflicts distress or pain on the animal.
Aquabird Pet Centre worker Leah Reeves said she had cared for a number of abused animals.
One foxy that Ms Reeves cared for took two years to acclimatise to humans after it was kicked and beaten by its previous owner.
"I do think it is quite prevalent in Warwick," she said. "You just have to look at the pound - they get dogs that are in pup and people have dumped them there."
Mr Jansen said the punishment for cases of cruelty and neglect was adequate.
"We have increased our level of prosecutions," he said. "I certainly think magistrates are handing out sentences in line with our precedents."
He said animal cruelty and neglect could be reduced by early education measures.
"People in the Warwick area are very vigilant in the reporting of animal cruelty and we encourage them to continue."
You can contact the RSPCA on 0746341304.