RSPCA / SSPCA Inspector
What does a RSPCA / SSPCA Inspector do?
RSPCA inspectors (SSPCA inspectors in Scotland) carry out rescues, investigate neglect and cruelty complaints and bring perpetrators to court if necessary, inspect animal establishments and events such as circuses, agricultural shows and race meetings, administer first aid and give advice. In some cases they may have to carry out animal euthanasia.
They liaise with other professionals, such as social services and local authority personnel, the police, veterinary surgeons and dog wardens.
Many of the cases inspectors deal with turn out to be neglect rather than cruelty. Neglect may be through ignorance, so inspectors will offer advice to enable people to improve the way they care for their animals.
If the owner has criminally mistreated the animal, inspectors enforce the law and give evidence in court. This will involve gathering evidence by collecting animals, interviewing owners, witnesses and vets to collect statements, and possibly photographing or videoing the scene.
The RSPCA also employs animal collection officers who collect, secure and transport animals who are injured or sick, or need to be removed from threatening or dangerous locations. They assist with animal rescues, and may have to carry out animal euthanasia.
The SSPCA employs auxiliary inspectors who cover remoter parts of Scotland and are trained to assess situations and decide whether an inspector needs to attend.
What's the working environment like working as a RSPCA / SSPCA Inspector?RSPCA inspectors provide 24-hour cover, working shifts totalling 35 hours a week. Weekends, nights and bank holidays are covered on a rota. SSPCA inspectors work a 37.5-hour week. In some areas they have a shift system for weekends, bank holidays, and evenings or nights.
Inspectors work both indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions. Rescue work can involve some dangers, such as climbing to retrieve animals from trees or from floods. Unpleasant and distressing sights and situations are common.
RSPCA inspectors must be prepared to be posted anywhere in England or Wales. SSPCA inspectors may work anywhere in Scotland.
What does it take to become a RSPCA / SSPCA Inspector?To be an RSPCA or SSPCA inspector you should:
- have excellent communication skills and the ability to handle confrontational situations
- be able to think logically and judge situations accurately
- have the emotional strength to deal with distressing situations
- have a responsible attitude towards health and safety
- be able to work in a team and have the initiative to work alone
- have the manual skills to handle animals and equipment.
RSPCA / SSPCA Inspector Career OpportunitiesThe RSPCA employs about 300 inspectors, based all around England and Wales. Each year they have about 20 vacancies for new inspectors, for which they receive about 2,000 applications. The SSPCA employs around 50 inspectors and chief inspectors based all over Scotland. They recruit about three new inspectors each year and get in the region of 600 applications.
Promotion is to chief inspector, managing a team of five to ten inspectors, and then to regional superintendent and on to management or training posts in headquarters.
In Scotland the promotion route is to senior inspector, chief inspector, superintendent and chief superintendent.
Inspectors can also volunteer to work with a small international team who travel abroad training inspectors in other countries, and helping with rescues after emergencies such as oil spillages, floods or volcanic eruptions.
A few inspectors undertake covert work, which includes infiltrating groups who run dog fights or badger baiting to gather evidence in order to prosecute them.
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