Our powers

Our powers

RSPCA inspectors are appointed under state and territory animal welfare legislation. This legislation gives inspectors a range of powers to investigate cases of animal cruelty and to enforce animal welfare law. These powers are similar in nature to those afforded to police officers. In the course of investigating animal cruelty offences, inspectors are empowered to:

  • enter property;
  • seize animals;
  • seize evidence of animal cruelty offences;
  • issue animal welfare directions/notices;
  • issue on-the-spot fines; and
  • initiate prosecutions under animal welfare legislation.

Although inspectors are afforded these powers, in the majority of cases inspectors will seek to resolve animal welfare issues through the provision of education and advice. Enforcement action, such as the seizure of animals and initiation of prosecutions, is reserved for serious cases of animal mistreatment.

If you would like information about RSPCA enforcement statistics, please refer to our annual statistics.

To find out more information about your state or territory RSPCA inspectorate, please refer to their website, which can be found here.