RSPCA Tasmania is negotiating changes to its investigative responsibilities in an effort to reduce its significant workload.
The organisation has about 170 ongoing investigations across the state and only four inspectors.
Animal investigations have been delayed and priorities constantly shifted at the understaffed and overworked not-for-profit.
Chief inspector Ray Kroeze said the RSPCA was struggling to keep up with the number of jobs.
“At the moment we're just chasing our tails,” he said.
To address the workload Mr Kroeze and the RSPCA have been negotiating with the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment [DPIPWE] on a responsibility agreement.
The agreement determines what work falls under the RSPCA’s responsibilities and what matters should be investigated by DPIPWE.
The RSPCA has proposed amendments which would transfer some of its workload to DPIPWE – which “had the luxury” of additional staff and a seven-day roster.
Mr Kroeze said the RSPCA’s workload was caused by the loss of almost half of their inspectors.
Several years ago there were eight full-time inspectors, but now only 4.6.
“At that point the workload was slightly different because we were doing a lot of the work DPIPWE does now,” he said.
Mr Kroeze said reducing the RSPCA’s workload would enable it to again focus on proactive measures to curb animal cruelty – rather than reactive.
The proposal would see DPIPWE take on all livestock.
In the existing agreement DPIPWE owns the investigation if a farm has more than 100 sheep or more than 20 cattle, while the RSPCA investigates smaller farms and companion animals.
“About 70 per cent of the jobs are to do with dogs,” Mr Kroeze said.
”They do take up a big part of our work so having DPIPWE take on the livestock would certainly ease our workload.”
The new agreement will be signed before June 30 and will remain for four years.