The RSPCA has seen an increase in the number of animal cruelty complaints in the ACT over the last financial year, recording a jump of more than 20 per cent.
The statistics came as two people were issued with infringements by the RSPCA under animal sentience laws which came into effect in September 2019.
City Services Minister Chris Steel said one infringement was for failing to provide water or shelter to an animal and the second was for failing to properly groom or maintain an animal.
"Domestic Animal Services rangers and RSPCA inspectors assess each situation on a case-by-case basis. Warnings are generally received prior to infringements being issued," Mr Steel said.
RSPCA ACT chief executive Michelle Robertson said the society received 1301 animal cruelty complaints in 2019-20, up from 1053 in 2018-19.
Ms Robertson said the increase was possibly linked to an increase in reporting.
"We want people to report it because if they report it, we can do something about it," Ms Robertson said.
"And it's not always taking that hard road, but it's, again, working with people to change behaviour."
A sharp increase in cruelty reports in summer had been particularly frustrating after significant efforts to educate the public on the harm animals face when kept in locked cars, she said.
Animals need your time. That's the most precious commodity, other than the basic things they need in terms of food, water and shelter. They need your time and they need your love.RSPCA ACT chief executive Michelle Robertson
"Obviously either the message isn't coming across or people are just deliberately choosing to ignore it," Ms Robertson said.
Although new rental laws have made it easier for tenants to keep pets, including in apartments, Ms Robertson said it was too early to tell if this had created a significant animal welfare problem.
She said the RSPCA investigated 294 jobs that dealt with inappropriate accommodation in the last financial year, with 71 involving units or apartments.
"It doesn't seem disproportionate ... it is very early days, but we'll have to keep a very close eye on it," Ms Robertson said.
More than 130 instances of confinement were investigated in the same period, including nine instances that involved balconies.
Ms Robertson said potential pet owners who were living in units or apartments needed to be mindful of the type of pet they wished to keep and how their lifestyle would need to accommodate the animal's needs.
"You have to commit. Animals need your time. That's the most precious commodity, other than the basic things they need in terms of food, water and shelter. They need your time and they need your love," she said.
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal in May approved a tenant's application to keep a Siberian husky puppy in a one-bedroom Braddon apartment.
Senior tribunal member Heidi Robinson found the tenant could keep the dog if it was exercised daily, did not urinate or defecate on the balcony and the apartment was cleaned of dog hair when it was vacated.
"Other applications involving active or working dogs in small apartments would need to be considered on a case-by-case basis," Ms Robinson said.
The RSPCA's Ms Robertson said it was possible for a correctly suited pet to live happily in an apartment.
"We're not hearing the complaints yet but I would really like to avoid hearing about the complaints at all," she said.
"We have an opportunity now, at the onset, to get some messages out there for people to be responsible and to think about these things, because we want people to own pets - it's a great thing."