Veterinarians Guide to Animal Welfare Cases

This guide was developed in consultation with the RSPCA (WA), with the goal of informing veterinarians about animal welfare regulation in Western Australia and, in particular, the veterinarian’s role in the investigation of suspected offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2002. In addition to routine professional involvement in animal health and welfare, veterinarians may be called to examine, treat, and provide advice about animals that are the subject of regulatory investigations. In this regard, veterinarians may be called as expert witnesses in criminal prosecutions of animal cruelty matters. In most cases veterinarians may be asked to assist the prosecution or the defence in relation to cruelty charges. Veterinarians play a crucial role in all aspects of animal welfare, and an understanding of the legal process involved in an animal cruelty prosecution is critical in fulfilling this important role. This guide supports veterinarians involved in animal welfare cases and other processes relevant to the enforcement of animal welfare legislation in Western Australia.