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Become an SPCA Inspector


Inspectors play a vital role in the work of the SPCA. They are at the front line of the SPCA's mission to prevent cruelty to animals, but their role is also so much more than that. 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 1999, our Inspectors also prosecute people who deliberately harm animals, and work with offenders to ensure that it does not happen again.


Attributes of an SPCA Inspector

Your work ethic, attitude and commitment are by far the most important factors when considering your suitability to become an SPCA Inspector.

Other qualities include:

  • Mature temperament, confident and able to make sound judgment calls
  • Experience and/or basic knowledge of animals and their welfare needs
  • A desire to make a difference to the lives of animals across New Zealand
  • Being comfortable working in the community, with people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Excellent information-gathering skills, the ability to record information accurately and to work independently


What does an SPCA Inspector's job involve?

An Inspector's primary role is to respond to complaints about the ill-treatment or neglect of a range of animals in the community.

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.


How to become an SPCA Inspector

If you want to become an Inspector, your local SPCA is a great place to start.

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.

Find your local SPCA here.


Training required

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.


Does an Inspector get paid?

Remuneration is dependent on the financial status of each SPCA branch/member society. A significant proportion of SPCA Inspectors are volunteers, and are only available on-call or outside the working hours of their other positions of employment. A vehicle is usually available for transporting animals, and some allowances may be offered.


Career path

The qualifications, skills and experience of SPCA Inspectors can also contribute to a career path in other animal welfare-related organisations, including:

  • Zoos
  • City councils
  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Private investigator firms
  • Other animal welfare groups
  • Local government animal control


    For more information

    To find out more about becoming an SPCA Inspector, please contact:

    Barbara Daw
    RNZSPCA National Office
    PO Box 15349
    New Lynn
    Waitakere 0640
    (09) 827 6094 ext 202