Hundreds of tradies stormed the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) headquarters on Monday to rally against Victoria’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for construction workers.
Video footage taken during the demonstration showed a brief scuffle between two men, one walking a dog on a leash.
The other man, understood to be a protester at the rally, then appeared to kick the pet in its belly, forcing it to jump backwards.
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RSPCA Victoria said it has received multiple reports of the incident.
“Animal cruelty is never acceptable under any circumstances and RSPCA Victoria considers all cases of animal cruelty high priority,” RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said.
Chief Inspector Stagg said the non-government charity has now launched an investigation into the alleged animal abuse.
“It was disturbing to see the footage which appeared to show intentional cruelty inflicted on a defenceless animal,” he said.
Construction workers protesting against mandatory vaccinations gather in front of the CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne on Monday. Picture: David Crosling
“I assure the Victorian community that RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate is investigating this alleged case of cruelty with the intention of holding the perpetrator accountable to the full extent of the law.
“There is no excuse for any animal to be subjected to abuse and we want to send the strong message that we will continue to hold people to account for such behaviour.”
It is illegal to abuse, beat, worry, torment or terrify an animal under Section 9 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA).
The offence holds a maximum penalty of $45,435 or 12 months imprisonment.
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