Animal Agenda with RSPCA WA: Reminder about pet owner responsibility amid spike in abandonment reports

RSPCA WAMidwest Times
Wazi was tied up without proper care at a regional property this summer.
Camera IconWazi was tied up without proper care at a regional property this summer. Credit: RSPCA WA

There has been a big spike in reports about animals being abandoned this summer.

From December to January, RSPCA WA has fielded 258 reports — up 43 per cent compared to 2021-22.

A possible reason for the surge is more people heading away on holiday again after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

It appears some owners have become complacent about the risks of leaving pets at home without arranging proper care.

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Sadly, two dogs died last summer after being tied up without access to shade or water in Perth backyards. It’s not an issue to be taken lightly — especially in hot or unpredictable weather.

A reminder that leaving your pet at home for long periods of time with “enough food and water to last until you get back” is never OK.

What can go wrong:

  • Water bowls can easily get tipped over or dry out on hot days.
  • Food can spoil or be consumed too quickly.
  • Bored animals can hurt themselves and lay injured or dying if not checked daily.
  • Sudden changes in the weather, like heat waves, can cause distress.
  • Animals who are tied up can become tangled and unable to reach water or shade.

Some of the reports of abandonment we receive are from people whose neighbours have gone away temporarily, but have made arrangements for someone to care for their pets every day.

If you’re going away:

  • Arrange a house-sitter or pet-sitter to live in your home while you’re away.
  • Take your pets to a reputable boarding kennel or cattery, or arrange to have them stay with familiar friends or family.
  • If you can’t arrange either of the above, have someone come to your house daily to make sure your pets have food, fresh water, and suitable shelter.
  • Let your neighbours know when and for how long you will be away, and what arrangements you have made for the care of your pets.

If you believe an animal has been abandoned, please report it immediately to the RSPCA Cruelty hotline on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358), or file a report online at rspcawa.org.au.


In the Mid West, the overwhelming majority of abandonment reports RSPCA WA receives are about dogs left without adequate food or water when owners go away. Thankfully, most times, owners have made arrangements for a friend or family member to attend to their pet daily, but they’ve failed to let their neighbours know these plans. We’re so grateful to those people who pick up the phone out of concern for an animal, because in the heat, leaving a pet without access to shade or water can be a death sentence. My message to pet owners in the Mid West would be to actively communicate your plans with neighbours to avoid them unnecessary stress and help keep your pets safe.

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