SPCA New Zealand
Report animal cruelty

Report animal cruelty

SPCA Inspectors and Field Officers work on the front line every day, rescuing animals that have been in an accident, abused, neglected or abandoned. Last year we attended over 15,000 call-outs to rescue animals at risk across New Zealand.

All cruelty reports should be made by phone to your local SPCA Centre:

If you have concerns about an animal

If you have concerns about an animal being neglected or treated with cruelty, contact us immediately.

We can then talk about your concerns and see if a visit by an Animal Welfare Inspector is necessary. All reports are treated in confidence.

What reports do the SPCA investigate?

We investigate a wide variety of reports involving many types of animals. The most common are in relation to the failure of someone to meet their obligations as an owner or person in charge of an animal. This can mean that a person does not provide adequate food, water, veterinary treatment or shelter, or behaves in a way that is not permissible, such as physically abusing or ill-treating an animal.

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 defines the physical, health and behavioural needs of animals as:

  1. Proper and sufficient food
  2. Proper and sufficient water
  3. Adequate shelter
  4. Opportunity to display normal patterns of behaviour
  5. Physical handling in a manner which minimises the likelihood of unreasonable and unnecessary pain or distress
  6. Protection from, and rapid diagnosis of, any significant injury or disease
The Act defines ill-treatment of an animal as: ‘causing the animal to suffer, by any act or omission, pain or distress that in its kind or degree, or in its object, or in the circumstances in which it is inflicted, is unreasonable or unnecessary’.

The SPCA investigates alleged breaches of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 in relation to these obligations and/or conduct.

Information we require to investigate

In order to give our inspectors the best possible opportunity to investigate reports, and to ensure that our inspectors act upon credible information, it is essential that you provide contact details so they can confirm the facts and gather more information if necessary. Your contact details can be given on an in-confidence basis and are protected in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993.

It is also helpful if you can gather as much information as possible prior to calling us including:

  1. Description of the animal(s) involved
  2. Details of the condition of the animal and why you believe there has been cruelty or neglect
  3. Precise address / description / directions of where the animal(s) are
  4. Name and address of the person you believe may be either in charge of or responsible for the animals and/or for their condition, e.g. physical abuse
  5. Name, address and contact details of any other witnesses who may be able to help

Priorities and limited resources

Last year we received thousands of reports and attended over 15,000 callouts. We received many more calls for help than this, but due to our limited resources we must prioritise cases based on urgency and seriousness.

When you call us we will ask you a series of questions so your call can be prioritised according to its urgency. We cannot always immediately attend all cases and we can’t always respond as quickly as we’d like to. Please be patient and if the situation is worsening please call us again and tell us.

Restricted legal powers

SPCA inspectors are empowered under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to investigate reports of abuse, neglect and abandonment. The SPCA is the only charity with the legal powers to help animals in need, and bring animal offenders to justice.
However, our legal powers are limited and some situations that may appear distressing are actually not against the law. Some situations may be meeting an acceptable minimum standard but may not be best practice. Whilst our inspectors will always encourage best practice, they can only enforce minimum standards.

Stray dogs and barking

If your report relates to stray, roaming or barking dogs, these complaints are managed by local councils under the Dog Control Act. Please contact your local council for advice.

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