SPCA Inspectors are called upon to work with communities to teach people how to look after their animals, to rescue abandoned or neglected animals, and provide hands-on treatment of animals where needed. Because the SPCA is the only charity in New Zealand that can legally enforce the Animal Welfare Act, our Inspectors also prosecute people who deliberately harm animals, and work with offenders to ensure that it does not happen again.
Other qualities include:
Another significant part of an Inspector's duties is education. Often, animals are unintentionally neglected and those responsible are genuinely upset by the incident. In these cases, the Inspector can initiate change immediately through the provision of information and positive education.
There may be calls to emergency situations where animals require immediate assistance or rescue. Some instances may necessitate court action, so the Inspector is required to gather evidence and prepare a prosecution file. Some SPCA branches have only one Inspector, but other experienced SPCA Inspectors are always just a phone call away for advice and assistance.
Each SPCA has a team of staff and volunteers who work together in various ways to advance the welfare of all animals in New Zealand. By volunteering at your local SPCA, you'll become familiar with how the organisation works, who is responsible for what, how the various areas function, how individual cases are handled, and so on.
Becoming involved in your local SPCA also gives the people there the opportunity to get to know you. After all, it's your local SPCA that nominates people they consider suitable for the role of SPCA Inspector, and will make the decision to recommend a person for formal training. A formal application is then processed by the national executive at SPCA National Office.
SPCA Inspector training is provided through Unitec's Certificate in Animal Welfare Investigations. It takes approximately 12 months to complete the national certificate, with the majority of study undertaken by distance learning, as well as three 5-day block courses.
Trainee Inspectors put through the course by the SPCA are sponsored by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), so all their course fees and associated costs are covered. Private students will have to pay for their own course fees and other associated costs.
The qualifications, skills and experience of SPCA Inspectors can also contribute to a career path in other animal welfare-related organisations, including: