Almost daily reports of animal cruelty in Melton were registered with the RSPCA in the past 12 months, according to new figures.
The RSPCA received 375 reports of animal cruelty within the Melton council area in the 2018-19 year – an increase of reports for the third year in a row.
Melton was the fifth highest local government area in the state for animal cruelty, up from seventh in 2017-18 (325 reports) and 12th in 2016-17 (279 reports).
The RSPCA report stated that neglect made up the highest proportion of reports.
Chief executive Dr Liz Walker said Victorians still needed better education on the needs of animals.
“Neglect is a form of cruelty, and it is heartbreaking to know so many animals continue to suffer across our state due to lack of basic care,” Dr Walker said.
“The 2018-19 animal cruelty report statistics clearly illustrate the need for further education and for people to seek help if they are having trouble providing basic care for their animals.”
The Moorabool council area also registered a high number of complaints on a per capita basis, with one complaint per 223 residents the fifth highest in the state, up from 25th in the 2017-18 report.
Across the state there was a 9.4 per cent increase in the number of animal cruelty reports, however Dr Walker said it was a sign of higher standards across Victoria.
“Looking at these figures, it’s easy to feel disheartened,” Dr Walker said. “However, it’s affirming that each individual report made to our inspectorate represents a person who has acted on their concern for an animal.
“The individuals who make these reports give voice to vulnerable animals who can’t speak for themselves.”
Reports concerning dogs and puppies made up the vast majority of reports, followed by horses and cats.