RSPCA NSW welcomes announcement of the push for tougher penalties for animal cruelty offences

NSW Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said he will introduce into State Parliament notice for legislation in what would be the harshest penalties for animal cruelty in Australia.

The new set of measures will increase maximum financial penalties and prison time under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, as well as introduce new powers to ban an individual from ever being allowed to own, care for or breed an animal in New South Wales.


“We are absolutely supportive of these proposed changes,” said RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman.

“We hear from our members and supporters far too often that they consider sentences for cruelty offenders to be inadequate, and this is a big step towards addressing those concerns.

“For animal cruelty offenders, the message is that courts will be empowered to deal with them appropriately, in line with community expectation.

“For us, the introduction of lifetime bans for serious offenders will help address repeat offenders, which sadly is one of the biggest issues we encounter, and the increased penalties will make people think twice before committing the offences.

“These changes represent an important development in the conversation about animal cruelty.

“It is clear how seriously and how strongly the community feels about this issue and we hope that parliamentarians get behind this.

“Most importantly, we welcome these changes because they will help protect more animals from suffering.”

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The announcement follows the establishment of RSPCA NSW’s Breeder Compliance Unit last month, a part of the Inspectorate tasked with investigating inadequate conditions and standards at intensive dog breeding facilities and will see non-compliant breeders made doubly accountable for their actions.

RSPCA NSW welcomes these changes as first steps into the review of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and is looking forward to further developments in cruelty legislation in New South Wales.

The proposed penalty increases are:

  • For committing an act of cruelty: fine increased from $5,500 and/or 6 months’ imprisonment to $44,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment for individuals, and $220,000 for corporations.
  • For committing an act of aggravated cruelty: fine increased from $22,000 to $110,000 and/or 2 years’ imprisonment for individuals, and $550,000 for corporations.
  • For failing to provide proper and sufficient food, drink or shelter: fine increased from $5,500 to $16,5000 and/or 6 months’ imprisonment for individuals, and $82,500 for corporations.