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Labor vows animal cruelty crackdown

The Victorian Labor Party today turned its election campaign to pets, vowing to strengthen penalties for animal cruelty offences.

Premier Steve Bracks today said the Labor Party would give the RSPCA $4 million to investigate animal cruelty.

The penalties for cruel behaviour to pets and native animals would be increased by up to 100 per cent, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act would be strengthened under the plan.

A spokeswoman for the premier said the fine for cruelty to animals would jump from the current maximum of $12,000 to a possible high of $24,000 if the ALP is returned at next Saturday's state election.

In a statement today, Mr Bracks said Labor would more than triple the funding to the RSPCA during the next four years.

"Sadly, over recent years more issues around the mismanagement of domestic and companion animals have arisen," he said.

"Labor will continue to work with community groups and local government to enforce tougher standards on animal cruelty as well as bringing the perpetrators to justice," he said.

RSPCA national president Hugh Wirth welcomed the announcement.

The extra funding would definitely make a difference in finding people responsible for animal cruelty, Dr Wirth said.

"A million dollars is great news (and) doubling of the penalties gives the courts far more options," he said.

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