Background to the Inspectorate
The first SPCA was formed in London in 1824 (now known as the RSPCA) and has subsequently given rise to the formation of SPCAs around the globe in every continent. Many SPCAs have cruelty investigators, humane officers, or inspectors
It is not well known, but the UK’s RSPCA Inspectorate pre-dates the world’s first police force (the Metropolitan force in the UK). In fact, the design of early RSPCA uniforms and usage of the term “inspector” were “borrowed” by founders of the Met who were looking for something that didn’t come in military colours or use military ranks.
Meanwhile, in New York, the first court action for child cruelty was taken by the American SPCA and gave rise to the launch of child protection charities in the USA and UK – the UK’s NSPCC was for a while unable to afford its own HQ for many years but its teams were donated office space by the RSPCA in London.
Bermuda’s SPCA, who are financially separate from the RSPCA in the UK, has a small inspectorate team whose main functions are:
- Investigating welfare, cruelty and neglect cases.
- Educating and working with pet owners who may not have broken the law but are willing to follow advice to care for their animals better.
- Responding to accident and emergency calls for injured and sick stray animals and wildlife. We handle around 150 calls like this a year and each call can take up to 15 or 20 journeys to resolve.
- On occasion, helping with medicating free-living feral cats with minor illnesses, and also helping find homes for many challenging animals at the shelter.
- We attend between 350-400 incidents a year and check in on the welfare of over 1500 animals every six months.
- We are the ONLY investigative body in Bermuda which deals with most or all species of animals and the only body which provides emergency call-out cover for injured animals.
We have had a number of former RSPCA or UK Governmental Animal Welfare Inspectors, since our legal system is very similar to the one in the UK. Our current objective is to have well trained, local (Bermudian) officers in the long term and this plan is well in progress with a local officer in place being trained by our visiting Inspector.