Animal Cruelty

In New South Wales, animal cruelty offences are treated very seriously by the Courts and legislation regulates all actions and behaviours directed towards animals. Anything from neglect to inflicting life-threatening injuries or death to an animal could give rise to one of the offences listed below.

Depending on the behaviour, offences can be charged under either the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 or the Crimes Act 1900. It is common in these matters to be charged by Police, but also for private prosecutions to be brought by bodies such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) or Animal Welfare League (AWL).

The intent of the legislation is to reduce cruelty to animals, not only by individuals, but also by corporations. These pages set out what the Police or prosecuting body must prove to successfully prosecute you, as well as the maximum penalties for animal cruelty offences.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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