In Western Australia, RSPCA Inspectors are permitted to take action for suspected cruelty offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (the Act).

Animal Welfare Legislation is developed, administered and enforced at the state and territory level.

RSPCA WA also works to reform legislation and improve animal welfare by working with government, presenting scientific evidence to support claims for the need for better animal welfare protection.


Animal Welfare Act Review

The WA Minister for Agriculture, Alannah MacTiernan, set up a panel of experts to review the Act in 2019-20. RSPCA WA was actively involved in this process, meeting with the panel on a number of occasions to discuss areas of concern with the Act in its current form, and to suggest improvements so the Act would better reflect the community's expectations of good animal welfare.

RSPCA WA believes an effective Animal Welfare Act should promote the welfare of animals by focusing on a person's duty of care towards animals for which they are responsible, rather than just prohibiting acts of cruelty towards animals.


Penalty for cruelty to animals

Animal cruelty is a serious criminal offence.

Penalties for offences of animal cruelty are prescribed under section 19(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002

If found guilty of cruelty to any animal, the minimum penalty per offence is a $2000 fine, with a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and imprisonment for up to 5 years.

Section 55 of the Act allows a court to impose additional orders against the offender that may include:

  • prohibition of contact with, owning, or being in control of animals for a period of time determined by the courts
  • forfeiture of ownership of any animal to the Crown
  • repayment of legal, veterinary and animal care costs.

Penalties are determined by the court and handed down at the court's discretion to protect the welfare, safety and health of an animal, a group of animals or animals in general. Magistrates determine appropriate penalties based on the evidence presented by the plaintiff and defendants in court. RSPCA WA does not determine penalties.

Please refer to the Animal Welfare Act 2002 for a full list of prescribed penalties.


How you can have your say

If you are concerned about animal welfare issues in WA, you can write to the Minister for Agriculture, Alannah MacTiernan.

The Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC
Minister for Agriculture and Food
11th Floor Dumas House
2 Havelock St
West Perth WA 6005

P: (08) 6552 6200
E: [email protected]

You could also contact your local State parliamentary representatives, and let them know that animal welfare is an issue that is important to you.

Contact your local MP