The SPCA has Animal Welfare Inspectors that respond to allegations of animal cruelty and neglect. They have the legal power to remove animals from their owners.
Inspectors are appointed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to enforce the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Their training includes planning, preparation and conducting investigations, observation, first aid to both large and small animals, emergency euthanasia, animal behaviour and transportation of small and large animals.
Inspectors must be competent and able to deal with a range of situations – from managing aggressive animals or people, to interviewing offenders and compiling and presenting evidence in a court in a clear and concise manner.
The Animal Welfare Act 1999 bestows certain powers on an Inspector where they are able to enter onto any land, premises, stationary vehicle, aircraft or ship at any reasonable time for the purposes of inspecting animals. Inspectors are able to take and maintain possession of an animal, when they have reasonable grounds to believe that an offence against the Animal Welfare Act 1999 has been committed.
Last year our Inspectors investigated around 1050 incidents relating to animal cruelty and neglect in the greater Wellington region. Educating owners about their responsibilities plays a large part in resolving these incidents. In cases of intentional cruelty or extreme cases of neglect, the Inspectors have the power to prosecute under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
As well as investigating complaints, our Inspectors conduct checks on pet shops, stock in transit across the Cook Strait, circuses, animals used in film, TV or advertising, animal parks and zoos.
Animal Welfare Inspectors work with other organisations such as the Police, Animal Control, MAF, Department of Conservation and other animal agencies and groups.
All of the Animal Welfare Inspectors’ work and legal costs are entirely funded by donations from the public. Wellington SPCA does not receive any direct government funding to carry out this work.