Great Debate: Should the RSPCA be granted statutory powers?

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The RSPCA is seeking statutory powers

The RSPCA recently announced their plan to step back from prosecutions and passing on the evidence of their investigations to the Crown Prosecutions Service (CPS), much as the Scottish SPCA does. However the SSPCA has something the RSPCA lacks – statutory powers.

Now, the RSPCA is aiming to achieve statutory powers in England and Wales for RSPCA inspectors. As things stand, the RSPCA have no powers of entry to homes, gardens, land or vehicles, unless accompanying police on a court warrant. The process of turning to the police so that they can go to court and get a warrant can take days, which the RSPCA says is “a long time to wait” when they know an animal on the property is suffering.

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said that statutory powers would enable the RSPCA inspectors to “reach animals in need more quickly, allowing them to access private land and outbuildings, although crucially not homes, if there was a reasonable expectation that an animal was suffering”.

He argued it would also “reduce pressure on the police at a time when their resources are stretched”.

However, critics of the charity argue against the idea, as they are concerned statutory powers may be misused. One well-known, controversial case is that of Claude, an elderly cat seized from his family home and later put to sleep without their owners’ consent. The decision was made due to poor health, the RSPCA maintains. Charges brought against Claude’s owner were overruled by the CPS, and the charity later publicly apologised.

If this could happen without statutory powers, critics argue, much worse can happen if the RSPCA achieves the powers to enter private gardens and outbuildings without being accompanied by police. Others say that some oversights cannot compare with the thousands of very real cases of animal cruelty taking place across the UK every year, and that statutory powers would allow the RSPCA to intervene quickly and save lives.

What do you think – should the RSPCA be granted statutory powers? Tell us what you think in the comments, in the dedicated Facebook thread, or write to editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk with “Great Debate” in the subject headline.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely No NO and NO
    The RSPCA would abuse those powers
    to steal people’s valuable animals and
    beloved pets The RSPCA are NOT fit for purpose anymore and are NOT to be trusted with all animals great and small
    Blood Splattered RSPCA! target the vulnerable and elderly bully and intimidate innocent pet owners into signing their animals over with threats of prison sentences that’s WITHOUT
    any STATUTORY powers what would they be like if they got them? they would terrorise people in their own home but be able to do it LEGALLY
    for that reason definitely NO to STATUTORY powers!

  2. The rspca have proven time and again they are not to be trusted by the public. They are underhanded and have more of an animal rights agenda than an animal welfare one. So therefore it would be disastrous if they had powers

  3. Absolutely NOT!!!!!!!
    RSPCA only want a conviction. They don’t care about animal welfare!!
    They put animals to sleep (kill) that could be saved. They don’t CARE.
    Plenty of other animal charities that deserve more power but not Rspca .
    Save the animals don’t give RSPCA any power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Christ NO !! As a retired veterinary nurse I would share that I would not allow an employee from this charity to even walk my dog

    The lies are endless

    They took one guy to court for swearing at his dog !!! No I’m not lying. No that’s not hearsay, it’s recorded in court papers. They spent over £70k doing that……

    Cant think of a worse charity

    Do you know how much the head of the “charity” is paid ?

    Ok, I will stop ranting

    Awful awful awful!! Avoid and don’t ever give them any money !!!

  5. Absolutely not , they are a disgraceful charity / company ,they do not know enough about the welfare of certain animals to be storming into people’s homes , there are too many stories of them not coming out to reports of neglect as it is ,they will pick and choose who to harrass and they push for convictions more than helping animals .
    The people are waking up to just how much this “charity” cares about animals .

  6. no they shouldn’t they abuse what non power they have at the moment. god forbid you give them the same as the police. if anything we should have TRAINED police independent of the RSPCA so that the RSPCA can be called to account for once.

  7. NO. The rspca is more of a corrupt business than it is a charity. They don’t practice what they preach all they want to do is convict people so they can get money from the fine and a lot of the times those people are innocent. Ive never met a knowledgable worker from the rspca in fact its always been quite the opposite, they’re quick to spread harmful fear mongering myths and will dismiss the truth when it suits them. Have a look at what they spend their money on because it doesn’t go towards helping animals, 9 times out of 10 they will put an animal to sleep rather than giving it the treatment it needs because its a cheaper/easier option. They lie in court and then later play on those lies in order to get donations from the public. If you want to help an animal charity look for a local organisation. It doesn’t take a genius to see how corrupt they are and they already abuse the little power they have now… they use tactics to get innocent people to sign their dogs over so they can be prosecuted while ignoring any cases in which a person cant be held accountable and therefore can’t be fined. Do some research and you will see the truth about the rspca…

  8. So sad to see so many people want to leave animals suffering behind closed doors. When will someone speak up for animals as they can’t speak up for themselves. There are convicted animal abusers commenting on the FB thread and it looks like they have many friends.

  9. The RSPCA should be entirely removed from ANY aspect of law enforcement, and taken to court and prosecuted for a variety of identifiable criminal activities, up to and including fraud on the court. They are are parasitic predators, leaving a train of pain and destruction in their wake. Animals are an excuse for daylight robbery, and they benefit in no way from being ‘saved’ by the RSPCA – virtue-signalling hypocrites who need to be taken out of the scene – after reparations for their crimes are exacted from them.

  10. NO NO NO NO NO. R£PCA needs shutting down once and for all. All they do is steal people’s pets. If you have concerns about an animal, please, please do not call them under any circumstances.

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