Animal inspectors work for organisations that are involved in the rehabilitation of abandoned, neglected and abused animals. Their time is taken up with investigations of animal abuse cases and inspections of properties for adopted animals, as well as the inspection of breeding facilities, pet shops, security companies, abattoirs, and any other places that have animals on the property or where animals are in any way involved.
The animal inspector responds to call-outs regarding the possible abuse of animals. They must also assist stricken and helpless animals and facilitate their safe rescue, return to the owner or release back into the wild. They respond to calls placed directly with their organisation or on referrals from external agencies, including the police. The inspector will go to the site, discuss the details of the criticism with the potential offender, offer advice and support, and, where necessary, begin a legal process for the animal to be removed from the supervision of the owner. They conduct an assessment of the animal involved and proceed accordingly to prevent suffering. It is also important to educate and advise owners and carers of animals and seek to improve or maintain the welfare of the animals, to prevent or alleviate suffering.
Animals can become trapped, injured or placed in situations of high stress, and it is the job of the animal inspector to assist with the rescue and subsequent placement of the animal into a safe environment. For this, they need to liaise with internal and external agencies and other animal welfare establishments.
With the variety of inspections that need to be conducted, working conditions vary greatly. They can be “wet, hot, filthy, tiring, indoors, outdoors, stressful, fun, difficult, heartbreaking …”
Their daily inspections also provide both funny and frightening moments. People get aggressive when they feel guilty, and working with dangerous or aggressive animals can be frightening.
Although this career path can be daunting at times, for dedicated animal-lovers it can be a dream job: as an animal inspector has said, “Saving animals will always be my goal and my passion. We should all fight for animal rights. God gave us the gift of animals, so it is our responsibility to look after them.”
Schooling & School Subjects
Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended subjects: Life Sciences
To become an animal welfare inspector, you need to have completed Matric and have a valid driver’s licence. You also need to complete the inspector’s course, as prescribed by the Animal Protection Act. This makes it a possible career path for people who want to work with animals, but don’t want to become veterinary surgeons.
Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals
6 Clark Road, Florentia, Alberton
Tel: (011) 907-3590
Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre
Plot 75, R104 Vaalbank
Tel: (013) 932-3941
South African Board of Companion Animal Professionals
P.O. Box 2058
Tel: (011) 433-1442
Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education
071 463 3339 / 082 585 1759