REPORTS of animal cruelty throughout the City of Greater Bendigo surged by almost 22 per cent in the 12 months to June 30.

RSPCA Victoria released state-wide animal cruelty report data for 2017-2018 earlier this week, with the data showing there were 333 reports of animal cruelty across the municipality, compared to 272 the previous year.

RSPCA Victoria chief executive officer Dr Liz Walker said she was disappointed to note that for the third year in a row, issues with providing the most basic standards of living for animals – meaning sufficient food, water and shelter – made up the highest proportion of offences reported.

“It breaks our hearts to see our inspectors and vets attend to so many animals that are severely malnourished and ill, who clearly haven’t been shown even the most basic level of care,” Dr Walker said.

“These statistics reflect that there is still a lot of important work that needs to be done to educate Victorians and improve animal welfare in our communities.”

Dr Walker said gathering localised data was crucial to understanding the trends in cruelty reporting and offending across the state – information that is pivotal to targeting RSPCA Victoria prevention and education initiatives in the areas that need them the most.

Offences reported in Greater Bendigo included:

• 189 reports of animals with insufficient food, water or shelter – 4905 across Victoria.

• 112 concerns about hygiene, grooming and housing conditions – 3212 across Victoria.

• 104 reports of underweight animals – 2704 across Victoria.

• 71 issues involving sick or injured animals not receiving vet treatment – 2411 across Victoria.

• 41 concerns about animals being beaten or wounded – 2411 across Victoria.

In 2017-18, RSPCA Victoria received 10,642 cruelty reports – around 29 per day, and an increase of almost 500 reports compared to last year.

Many of the 10,642 reports received by RSPCA Victoria in 2017-18 included allegations of multiple offences involving multiple animals.

Greater Bendigo ranked sixth for the number of reports, however the 333 reports were 33 less than two years ago.