Scottish SPCA inspectors are concerned with the welfare of animals. They carry out inspections, investigate complaints about the possible ill-treatment of animals and deal with calls about trapped or suffering wild animals.
You could be:
inspecting farms, stables, slaughterhouses, pet shops, zoos or kennels to make sure animals are well looked after
attending cattle markets or race meetings to see that animals are treated well
investigating and reporting calls from the public about animals at risk and deciding whether to take action
getting help from vets, police, fire brigade or coastguards to treat or rescue animals
taking badly treated animals to places where they can be cared for or put down humanely
advising an owner suspected of cruelty and warning of possible legal action
looking out for illegal ‘sports’ such as badger baiting or dog fighting
reporting cruelty to the police and giving evidence in court
carrying out educational duties, such as giving talks in schools.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the demand for the job.
Salaries for Scottish SPCA probationary inspectors are £21,769 a year. Qualified inspectors' salaries start at around £26,000 a year.
You would work 37.5 hours a week, but might work shifts or be expected to work some evenings and weekends. You could also be on call for emergencies.
You would have to travel on a regular basis to respond to call-outs and to make inspections. This might be over quite a wide area.
Much of the work might be outdoors, and the working conditions can be cold, wet, dirty, smelly or dangerous.
It can be upsetting working with sick, injured and badly treated animals.
There can be a risk of attack from sick, injured, nervous or aggressive animals.
You may have to face threatening behaviour from the owners of abused animals.
You would wear a uniform and further protective clothing where required.
You must be willing to work anywhere in Scotland as a probationary inspector.
confident when working with animals, both large and small
able to deal with distressing situations and very unpleasant sights
decisive and able to take control in an emergency
assertive but tactful when speaking to owners
able to deal with a wide range of people
able to deal with challenging situations
able to work alone with no supervision.
You need to have:
a real understanding of suffering animals and a desire to help them
a caring nature
sound judgement and the ability to show initiative
good communication skills.
You would follow an initial 6-month training period.
At the end of this time, you would take a written examination.
After two years' service you would take the intermediate examination, and the SVQ in Animal Care at SCQF Level 6 after three years' service. You need to complete the SVQ within one year.
Training includes criminal law, animal welfare legislation, animal handling and animal rescue.
With experience you may be able to gain promotion to senior inspector, chief inspector, deputy chief superintendent and chief superintendent.
You may have to move to different parts of the country to gain promotion.
The Scottish SPCA is the largest animal charity in Scotland. The equivalent organisation to the Scottish SPCA in England and Wales is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). The RSPCA does not operate in Scotland.
One way to get useful practical experience is to volunteer to look after animals at your local Scottish SCPA animal rescue and rehoming centre. You have to be at least 18 to volunteer and must have some experience with animals. Some centres may have long waiting lists, this type of volunteering is very popular.