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RSPCA Mid West inspector Peter Acton believes lack of education must be addressed to resolve animal neglect

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
RSPCA inspector Paul Acton wants to improve animal education in the region.
Camera IconRSPCA inspector Paul Acton wants to improve animal education in the region. Credit: Jessica Moroney

The Mid West’s new RSPCA inspector says he will prefer to enforce education over prosecutions in the coming months, as a lack of knowledge becomes fuel for the fire of animal neglect.

Last year, RSPCA said there were more than 200 cruelty complaints from the City of Greater Geraldton.

Paul Acton spent 23 years as a public servant and four years as a ranger before his new role as the RSPCA inspector for the district.

“The job combines everything in my interest. I enjoy investigations, I enjoy the law, and I enjoy animals,” he said. “But with RSPCA the victims are voiceless animals.”

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Mr Acton cares for several animals including pets and livestock, and said he noticed numerous cases of failing to alleviate harm.

“If you have a sheep with a limp and you don’t take it to the vet, you can be liable for prosecution,” he said.

Mr Acton said there was an abundance of abandoned litters, strays roaming the streets, and unwell pets not tended to because of a lack of finances.

“These are key issues that come down to education,” he said.

“The RSPCA isn’t all about law enforcement, or investigations — but there are cruelty complaints and we need to investigate and prosecute if we have to.”

Mr Acton said eligible pet owners weren’t aware they could apply a discount for sterilisations through the RSPCA.

“Pensioners or concession card holders can apply for a subsidy to have their cat sterilised. The RSPCA will pay 75 per cent of the operation, and you only pay 25,” he said.

There are currently 11 RSPCA inspectors servicing Western Australia.

If you are concerned for animal welfare in your community or suspect animal neglect, file a confidential cruelty report at www.rspcawa.org.au/report-cruelty.

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