Animal welfare complaints data overview

Biosecurity Queensland inspectors are appointed under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (the Act) to investigate complaints about animal care or cruelty and ensure compliance with the Act. Inspectors also help educate animal owners and users about their responsibilities and promote the Act and other animal welfare standards.

This dashboard provides an overview of animal welfare investigations carried out by Biosecurity Queensland officers under the Act. It does not include data on investigations led by the RSPCA.

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How we prioritise and investigate incidents

Animal welfare incidents are reported to Biosecurity Queensland by members of the public. Incidents are an event or activity that could be unlawful under the Act. Biosecurity Queensland assess and prioritise each incident to determine if an investigation is required. If we decide an investigation is not required, the incident may be closed. Sometimes incidents may need to be referred to another agency (such as the police or RSCPA) to be investigated.

Incidents in the dashboard are broken down into different categories, including cattle, horses, companion animals (cats and dogs) and animals at Commonwealth export abattoirs.

Incidents requiring investigation

An incident that requires an investigation becomes a case. An inspector appointed under the Act is assigned to the case to conduct the investigation using powers under the Act. The inspector determines the most appropriate response to the investigation. This can include:

  • No action. If there is no genuine animal welfare problem, no further action is required. For example, someone may complain about a dog that they think is tied up permanently, but the complainant may not be aware that the animal is being exercised at night.
  • Education. If the owner did not know about or understand their responsibilities towards the animal, the inspector may educate the owner. For example, if a closely confined dog is not receiving sufficient exercise but is otherwise healthy, an inspector may advise the owner that they need to provide sufficient exercise under the Act.
  • Animal welfare direction. Under the Act, an inspector may issue a formal written direction requiring the owner to do certain things to rectify the situation within a specified time.
  • Evidence for prosecution. An inspector may collect material to be used as evidence if they decide that the situation is serious enough to recommend that someone be charged with an offence.
  • Removal of animals. Sometimes an inspector believes that the only way to ensure an animal will be cared for properly in the short term is to remove (seize) it from where it is.

Enforcement action

Where appropriate, Biosecurity Queensland applies enforcement action ranging from education and warnings to giving animal welfare directions or in more serious cases, prosecution.

More information

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