10 February 2021

RSPCA WA can reveal which local government areas generated the most animal cruelty reports in 2020.

Analysis of the 6620 animal cruelty reports received last year – averaging 18 per day – has also revealed the type of offences most commonly reported through the charity’s 24-hour Cruelty Hotline.  

Rankings by number of reports – Metropolitan area 

Number of
Local Government Area
1 594 City of Swan
2 493 City of Wanneroo
3 486 City of Stirling
4 377 City of Rockingham
5 347 City of Gosnells
6 299 City of Armadale
7 259 City of Mandurah
8 247 City of Cockburn
9 235 City of Joondalup
10 175 Town of Kwinana


Rankings by number of reports – Regional area

Number of
Local Government Area
1 223 City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
2 174 City of Geraldton
3 129 City of Bunbury
4 120 City of Albany
5 70 Shire of Greenough
6 57 Shire of Busselton
7 54 Shire of Harvey
8 52 Shire of Capel
9 51 Shire of Esperance
10 39 Shire of Collie

Note: Many of the reports received by RSPCA WA in 2020 included allegations of multiple offences involving multiple animals.


Top offences reported

Offences reported 2020
Ill-treatment of an animal (cruel/harsh behaviour, abuse or neglect) 3279
Sick and injured animals not receiving veterinary treatment 1293
Animals with insufficient food or water 1278
Abandoned animals 1025
Unnecessary harm 850
Animals left in hots cars 786
Animals with insufficient shelter 639

Overall, complaints were down from 7022 in 2019 to 6620 in 2020.

RSPCA WA Chief Executive Officer, Ben Cave, said while any decline in cruelty reporting was a positive and welcome sign, it was disappointing to see reports of ill-treatment remain steady (1% increase) and reports about dogs in hot cars jump 14%, compared to 2019.

In total, 10,271 offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 were reported last year.  

“Looking at these numbers, it can be easy to feel disheartened, but it’s important to remember that every cruelty report received is a person speaking up and being a voice for animals,” he said. 

“Our animals rely on us for everything, so it’s really disappointing to see that so many animals continue to be deprived of the basics, such as food, water, shelter and vet care.

“In these hotspots where we know cruelty is prevalent, RSPCA WA works hard to improve standards of animal welfare, but we’re still getting a consistently high number of calls.

“These figures clearly demonstrate a need for further education. If you’re struggling to care for your pet, there are always options available – ignoring their suffering is never OK.

Missy on her owners lap“A particularly troubling case of neglect from last year was Missy – a 13-year-old Maltese in the City of Wanneroo who was seized by inspectors in January. 

“She had a long list of issues, which indicated prolonged neglect; Missy was emaciated, her coat was severely matted, her teeth were broken and infected, and she had an old injury to her leg, which had been left untreated. 

“Missy’s owner was found guilty of animal cruelty, she received a fine and was banned from having pets for life. 

“Missy found an amazing new home with her long-term foster carer Lisa (pictured), who says she feels an overwhelming urge to protect Missy for the rest of her days.”


About this data 

  • Many of the 6620 reports received by RSPCA WA in 2020 included allegations of multiple concerns involving multiple animals. 
  • Not every report contains a substantiated offence. Some reports involve concerns that do not meet the threshold for an offence in WA, and others were not substantiated through investigation. 
  • Not every alleged offence results in a charge or a prosecution. Many cases are resolved quickly by the owner or person in charge of an animal after they have been contacted by an RSPCA WA Inspector. 
  • The majority of regional reports come from areas where our inspectors are stationed. When we place an inspector in a region, the number of cruelty reports for that area goes up, because people know they can depend on us for help. RSPCA WA continues to lobby for support to expand its footprint in regional WA.