ISPCA Inspectors are the front line against animal cruelty in Ireland, investigating complaints of abandoned, neglected and cruelly treated animals.
With legal power under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, which came into force on 8th March 2014, our Inspectors investigate complaints of animal cruelty and neglect. It is their job to establish the facts behind each case and decide whether or not to initiate a prosecution.
Where possible, our Inspectors use their communication skills and animal welfare knowledge to teach animal owners to care properly for their animals. If owners are unable to care for their animals appropriately, our Inspectors will offer the opportunity to surrender them. Prosecution is the last resort but, under certain circumstances, our Inspectors can seize animals and instigate legal proceedings.
Each year the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline receives over 16,000 calls resulting in:
It costs around €50,000 to keep an Inspector on the road for a year, including uniform, vehicle costs, logistical costs (computer / phone), support (IT, helpdesk etc.).
When investigating any animal cruelty complaint, an ISPCA inspector's priority is look after the animal's welfare.
Once the animal is 'safe', the Inspectors decide if an offence has been committed. If so, ISPCA inspectors, as authorised officers, can initiate a prosecution under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.
Under the Act, ISPCA Inspectors can enter any property (apart from private dwellings) without the owner's consent, if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence is being committed under the Animal Health and Welfare Act
The Act also gives an ISPCA Inspector the power to:
By law, an animal owner must give such assistance or information to an authorised officer as may reasonably be required
The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 provides more information on the specific powers of the ISPCA’s Inspectorate in Section 38.
Where possible, our Inspectors use their communication skills and animal welfare knowledge to teach animal owners to care properly for their animals, or to surrender them. Prosecution is very much the last resort.
The ISPCA has launched our Inspectorate Report for 2015, highlighting more than 15,000 calls made to the National Animal Cruelty Helpline resulting in 3,000 investigations, 1,100 animals seized or surrendered and 35 prosecutions initiated under the Animal Health and Welfare Act. You can find the full report here. You can find out more information about the Inspectorate Report, as well as a copy of the Inspectorate Report 2014 on our Inspectorate Report page here.