Prevent cruelty & educate
SPCA believes that engaging, educating and building relationships with our communities is key to improving animal welfare in New Zealand. Like you, we want everyone to know how to look after their animals and give them the love and respect they deserve.
With your support, we help prevent cruelty to animals in a number of ways:
Through education resources for children and adults; by helping owners to desex their animals; through our work with offenders and at-risk communities and by engaging with government and industry to advocate for changes that improve animal welfare.
SPCA’s Kids Education Portal
The SPCA’s Kids Education Portal is a unique online education resource. The portal has been designed to support children’s learning about animal welfare and responsibility towards animals, whilst developing children’s respect, understanding and compassion for all living creatures.
Learn-to-Read story books
Our twelve Learn-to-Read story books help Kiwi kids to both improve their reading skills and learn to care for and respect animals.
The books cater to different ages and reading levels. Each story is based on a real-life animal rescue from SPCA, and contains messages about animal care, animal welfare, and tips for families on how to be responsible pet owners.
To spread the message to as many children as we can, all 2,127 primary and intermediate schools in New Zealand have received six copies of each book completely free, thanks to help from SPCA supporters.
Our Teachers’ Portal is designed for primary and intermediate school teachers. The portal provides innovative resources on animal welfare that are aligned with the New Zealand Curriculum and fit easily into their every-day teaching.
Targeted Interventions Portal
Over forty years of research recognises the common roots of violence towards humans and animals, and the close link between animal cruelty, family violence, and child abuse.
SPCA Targeted Interventions Portal is an online practice resource for professionals, practitioners, students, and scholars. The Portal was developed in collaboration with New Zealand practitioners and academics to support the early identification of co-occurring human victimisation and animal cruelty, and to address the enduring social and emotional impact of animal cruelty on children and adults.
We don’t just educate children on how to care for and treat animals; we also publish our quarterly Animals’ Voice Magazine, provide animal care booklets to all our adopters, and online resources and opinion pieces on animal care and welfare for everyone to access.
Community Engagement and Outreach programmes
We are fortunate to have dedicated community engagement staff at some of our centres across the country. These teams are available to host groups at selected SPCA centres and are also happy to venture off-site – visiting schools and community groups to talk about our work and inspire students to effect positive change in the lives of animals. See if there are visits available in your area.
We also offer Outreach Therapy Pet visits to rest homes, hospitals and other health services in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Dunedin to bring comfort and joy to residents and patients.
SPCA Inspectors, field officers and community vet nurses
SPCA has a team of 77 Animal Welfare Inspectors who respond to allegations of animal cruelty and neglect and have the legal power to remove animals from their owners. These Inspectors are appointed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to enforce the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
Last year our Inspectors filed 144 charges against 26 defendants and achieved 47 convictions through the courts. Educating owners about their responsibilities plays a large part in resolving these incidents and improving the wellbeing of neglected animals.
Some of our centres also have additional frontline staff such as community vet nurses and field officers who help out with low-level welfare cases. They help with rescues but also educate people on the basics of how to treat and care for animals, as well as assisting them to break the cycle of animal neglect.
Each year thousands of unwanted kittens and puppies are brought to SPCA. They’re found wandering the streets as strays or surrendered when owners don’t want them anymore.
On over 41,000 animals come into SPCA's care each year. This puts huge pressure on services such as the Inspectorate team and our animal teams. But it is more than just an SPCA problem – it’s a community problem.
Desexing and responsible ownership are the only way to address the cause of unwanted animals being born, abused and neglected. By stopping unwanted births of kittens and puppies, we can prevent SPCA from being the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’.
To combat this, we have invested in a focussed desexing strategy to really make an impact. We combine short-term desexing campaigns in our communities with long-term education and attitudinal change programmes for the best outcome.
Campaigning and advocating for animals
Behind the scenes, we work with ministers, government officials and industry to advocate for incremental changes that improve animal welfare.
Publicly we campaign on a wide range of animal welfare issues, from seeking bans on rodeos, leg hold traps and the private sale and use of fireworks, to opposing Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).