SPCA New Zealand
Become an SPCA inspector

Become an SPCA inspector

Inspectors play a vital role in the work of the SPCA throughout New Zealand. 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 neglect or deliberately harm animals, and work with offenders to ensure that it does not happen again.

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 by providing 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 areas of the country have only one Inspector, but other experienced SPCA Inspectors are always just a phone call away for advice and assistance.

Animal Welfare Inspectors often work with other organisations such as the Police, Animal Control, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Department of Conservation and other animal agencies and groups.

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
  • Excellent communication skills
  • 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

How to become an SPCA Inspector

If you want to become an Inspector, your local SPCA Centre 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.

This may provide you with an insight as to whether the role is right for you and may provide a good opportunity to apply for role when they become available and are advertised. On the same basis you may also consider applying for another role within the SPCA e.g. as a Field Officer or Animal Attendant.

You may also like to contact Unitec for information on the Certificate in Animal Welfare Investigations, this course is currently a mandatory qualification for inspectors (see below) and is open to non SPCA students, prior completion of the qualification may be advantageous in any application process.

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 6-day block courses.

Trainee Inspectors put through the course by the SPCA are sponsored by 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.

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

Does an inspector get paid?

Yes, whilst it may vary dependent upon location, almost all SPCA inspectors now receive remuneration. A vehicle is usually available for transporting animals, and some allowances may be offered.

More information

To find out more about becoming an SPCA Inspector, please contact info@spca.nz.

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