RSPCA ACT is the lead agency for issues of animal welfare and should be the first point of call for people concerned about the welfare status of any animal. RSPCA ACT can be called on 1300 777 221.

ACT Policing works with the RSPCA ACT and police officers have the powers of an Inspector under the Animal Welfare Act. Inspectors (including ACT Policing Officers) are empowered under the Act to enter a premises to provide assistance to an animal; this includes a motor vehicle and they may use such force as is necessary to do so e.g. breaking a window.

Animals in cars

It is not an offence to leave an animal in a motor vehicle. The offence occurs when the health, safety or welfare of the animal is in jeopardy or the animal is suffering or in distress.

Police do not advise members of the public to break into motor vehicles in the event an animal is in distress.

In the first instance, consider the location of the incident; if the car is in a shopping centre car park, contact centre management who can page the owner of the vehicle. If this is not an option or there are no alternatives, then call RSCPA ACT on 02 6287 8100.

For non-urgent cruelty complaints visit the RSPCA website and make a report.

If the RSPCA is not available, call Police Operations on 131 444.

Dog attacks

While the safety of our community is of paramount important to ACT Policing, our police officers are not trained in the handling and seizing of dangerous dogs.  For this reason, the response to and the investigation of animal attacks is the responsibility of Domestic Animal Services.

While ACT Policing will attend ongoing incidents that pose an imminent threat to public safety, Domestic Animal Services has primary responsibility for undertaking compliance activities under the Domestic Animals Act.

Should you have concerns about a particular animal, or require the attendance or Domestic Animal Service, call Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

In a life threatening emergency always contact 000.

ACT Policing Online News

Need help with family violence?

Quick Exit