RSPCA inspectors are turning up at farmers¹ properties unannounced to follow up on complaints of ani

30 Mar, 2007 08:45 PM
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The property owners, who did not want to be identified, said they had an RSPCA inspector turn up without warning last week after someone issued a complaint about their feedlot.

They said although the inspector found nothing wrong, it did take up several hours to go through every aspect of their operation.

³The inspector walked away very happy with our processes but we were surprised that they would just turn up without warning,² they said.

Under government legis-lation, inspectors are allowed to enter a property freely if there has been an animal cruelty complaint regarding that property.

RSPCA spokesperson Emma-Jane Morcombe said depending on the nature of the complaint, the inspectors would try and make contact with the owner on the property if they could find a phone number for them.

³It really depends on what the complaint is and if a phone number can be found,² she said.

³If the inspector only has an address then they are allowed to turn up to that property without warning.

³In the case of farms, every effort would be made to make contact with the owner when they arrive at the property.²

The landowner said he was concerned that an inspection would be done when he or his wife were not at home.

³As it was, we were lucky we were home on that day and that we had good records of treatments for cattle and the processes we go through,² he said.

³It could be an issue for smaller farmers though if people are to turn up and they are not home and they start jumping fences and going through the property.

³It is a concern that they could turn up and go through the place without us present.

³We have nothing to hide and are confident that the business we run is safe for animals.

³All we ask that if they do want to inspect our property that they give us notice, beca-use at the end of the day we are managing a business and unexpected visits that take up two or three hours can disrupt our day to day operations.²

Ms Morcombe said in the majority of cases farmers were doing the right thing but there was a small minority who weren¹t.

³We try to speak to the farmer involved and inspectors do leave notices at properties if there is a problem but no one is around,² she said.

³We do have regional inspectors in place and in most cases they are able to get hold of numbers and phone the person concerned before inspecting the premises, but once again it depends on the nature of the complaint.²

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