There are approximately 90 SPCA inspectors in New Zealand

Inspectors duties vary greatly depending on their locality but the priority for all inspectors is to enforce the Animal Welfare Act 1999

An inspector is issued a warrant by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry after successfully completing a series of assignments and examinations.

A warranted inspector has powers under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to enter at any time - by force if necessary - into any vehicle, aircraft, or vessel, or on any land or premises, for the purpose of inspecting any animal, where he is satisfied on reasonable grounds that an offence against [the Animal Welfare Act 1999] is being, or has been, committed in respect of any animal.

Inspectors can remove (seize) an animal and take it to a safe location while enquiries are made.

What the job involves

SPCA inspectors are no ordinary people. One might assume that all it takes to do their job is compassion and a reasonable knowledge of animals, but the reality is very different.

Animal welfare inspectors must be policeman, diplomat, social worker, first aider, teacher, mediator, friend and saviour. They must know how to observe, investigate, deduce and compile a series of facts and physical evidence into a brief ready to present in a court should prosecution be taken.

They must know how to interview suspects and take statements and how to present their evidence in court. The Animal Welfare Act has the provision to inflict heavy penalties on those who breach the law, even sentencing prison terms, if necessary.

As well as investigating complaint reports our inspectors also check and monitor pet shops, stock in transit, circuses, animals used in film, television and advertising, animal parks and zoos.

Animal welfare inspectors also work with other organisations such as the police, animal control, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Department of Conservation (DOC) and other animal agencies.

Education is an important part of an inspector's work. Teaching people to be more aware of their animals' needs encourages them to become more responsible and hopefully a better owner.

Other duties an inspector may carry out are

• collecting sick or injured stray animals
• giving educational talks to schools, colleges and clubs
• checking the properties of people keen to adopt a dog from the SPCA to ensure their section is fully fenced
• providing transport for owned animals in need of urgent veterinary treatment
• attending rodeos and other animal events to check they are operating legally

Our investigation, education work and legal costs are entirely donation funded. We do not receive government funding.

How to report an act of animal cruelty

If you know of animal cruelty or neglect taking place please contact us or your local SPCA to make a complaint.

You will be asked to supply the following details and we ask that you give as much information as possible.

Your details are strictly confidential.
• your name, address and phone number. This allows us to contact you to advise the outcome of your complaint
• the name and address of the person/s you think committed an offence
• The date, time and place of the offence or offences. Please give the exact location of the animal and a clear description of it and its condition.
• the registration number and description of any vehicle involved
• advise if you are prepared to testify in court 


Complaints of animal cruelty and neglect are confidential and putting details of the complaint (and your details) onto social media such as Facebook can compromise that confidentiality.

Phone - (09)4389161 (24/7)

Contact your local SPCA if you are outside the Whangarei area.