With legal power under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA), which came into force in 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 there is evidence to suggest that an offence of cruelty has been or is being committed.
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 prepare case files that may result in legal proceedings.
In 2017 the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline handled 16,211 calls resulting in:
Since the introduction of the AHWA, the ISPCA has handled:
Our Inspectors cover 17 counties in Ireland. You can also see which local ISPCA affiliated member society is near you.
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.
On Wednesday 7th March 2018, we launched our Inspectorate Report 2017. The report outlines that 16,211 calls were made to the ISPCA's National Animal Cruelty Helpline resulting in 3,273 investigations, 1,250 animals being seized or surrendered, 19 new prosecutions initiated and 21 cases finalised in court under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA).
For more information as well as a copy of the Inspectorate Report 2016, 2015 and 2014, please click here
ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline poster can be downloaded here
If you believe an animal is being cruelly treated or neglected, please call 1890 515515. Monday to Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm in the strictest of confidence or report on line here