Faces of SPCA Rescue: meet Senior Inspector Sarah
Our dedicated SPCA Inspectors work on the frontline to help animals in need, engaging with and educating the community. If you saw the latest episode of SPCA Rescue on TVNZ 1, you’ll have an idea of some of challenging and heartbreaking scenarios that our Inspectors, like Sarah, are faced with every day.
After a background working in criminal justice in Australia, Sarah became a Trainee Inspector for SPCA back in 2018, based at our Auckland Māngere Centre, and knew the role was an ideal fit.
“I’m passionate about animal welfare and strongly believe that all animals deserve the best we have to offer. Knowing I make a difference to the lives of animals every day is the driving force that keeps me passionate about what I do,” Sarah says.
Now a Senior Inspector with years of experience under her belt, Sarah is all too familiar with the most challenging parts of the role.
“Severe cases leave a mark on you. Witnessing animals that have been severely neglected or mistreated, yet still show so much love towards the person that did that to them… it’s hard to watch. Animals are so forgiving and working with the owners can be difficult during an investigation, as we have to put our emotions aside.”
SPCA Inspectors frequently put their own safety on the line, doing all that they can to educate animal owners on best practice, improve welfare conditions for animals, and in extreme cases, removing animals from properties to take them into the care of SPCA. Sarah knows the risks that these scenarios sometimes pose.
“As Inspectors, we’re often dealing with hostile owners, or members of the public who don’t want us there, and can become very threatening,” she explains.
Even with all of their hard work, it seems some members of the public still don’t understand that SPCA Inspectors don’t make the law – and can only enforce the existing law.
“Sometimes we have to walk away from animals that are living in average situations, as there is no concrete evidence of a reported offence and nothing further we can do, as the owner meets the minimum standards of care. We can’t remove animals without legal grounds to do so.”
“I wish people knew how hard Inspectors work to ensure that animals have better lives, with the limited resources we have, and working within the current laws. Whether that be violent owners threatening to physically hurt us, conducting a complex search warrant, removing an animal that needs urgent treatment, or in the worst cases euthanasia to end its suffering.”
Though it’s a challenging role, Sarah calls it a rewarding one too. Inspectors like her are able to see the direct impact and positive change their work has, and know that their actions have lasting effects.
“The most rewarding part is making a difference to even one animal’s life! Whether that be by removing the animal from a bad situation, helping to get them desexed, ensuring they receive veterinary treatment when ill or injured, providing a new kennel, or seeking justice through the courts,” Sarah says.
“It’s the hardest, and best job. No day is the same, but that’s what makes it exciting. One thing is for sure - the people that work at the SPCA are all passionate, caring people that do their absolute best every day to help animals in our community.”
We couldn’t do our important work without Inspectors like Sarah, whose essential work on the frontline has helped countless vulnerable animals, as shown through TVNZ 1’s SPCA Rescue.