Sarah works for National RSPCA as an Inspector, meaning she works on the frontline helping animals and removing them from dangerous situations, as well as speaking to people about pet care. It's a very demanding job and takes a lot of time and energy! Sarah has been an Inspector for a couple of years now and we wanted to know what it's like doing her job...
Here's Sarah judging at our Bark in the Park 2015 event
What are your daily duties?
"My job revolves around animal care, so I spend all day doing something with animals. I receive prompts from the National Call Centre to investigate cases that people have called them to report, so I'll have a list of places to attend every day and more are added throughout the day. It can be anything from investigating cruelty complaints to collecting sick and injured wild and domestic animals and taking them to the vet for treatment. I also try to help out by giving advice to pet owners and making sure their pets are happy and healthy. As well as this, I liaise with local shelters and vets to find spaces for the animals to go to in a rescue centre when I've picked them up, and taking them to the vet for health checks and veterinary treatment. It's not all hands-on though, as I also have to attend prosecution cases in court for abused, abandoned and neglected animals."
How did you get into the role?
"I always wanted to be an RSPCA Inspector, so I made sure I had experience of working with animals to help out with my application. I used to work at the Derby rescue centre as an Animal Care Assistant, which allowed me to talk to Inspectors about their jobs and learn more about what the role entailed. After this I moved on and worked at the PDSA for a while, until National RSPCA put up their recruitment adverts. They don't take people on very often, so I was thrilled when my application was successful. The training is very demanding, but I'm glad I persevered."
What is the best part of the job?
"Simply removing animals from awful situations is definitely the best part of the job. Taking them from neglectful or abusive situations to a shelter and seeing them thrive in their time being rehabilitated, is amazing. I stay in touch with the centres I work with and I love seeing the animals I've rescued go to their new homes, that's very satisfying and a part of the job I really enjoy."
Sarah's cat, Jack
What is the hardest part of the job?
"Seeing cruelty. I've seen some awful things, and when I'm called to investigate an act of cruelty I never know for sure what situation I'll be in. It's a psychologically demanding job and can be very upsetting at times."
Tell us about your most memorable moment as an Inspector
"My first case is the most memorable for me as it was the first time I'd seen something so shocking, and I remember it clearly. I'd been called to attend a case of neglect, and when I arrived it was really upsetting. There were over 30 animals in a garden that had simply starved to death as they had been neglected so severely. These rabbits and guinea pigs had essentially been forgotten about and it was terrible to see. They're the most neglected pet in the UK, as it's just too easy for people to buy a small animal and then leave it in a hutch with no food, water or company."
Who was the most memorable animal you've worked with?
"My first case dog - April the Akita. She was part of a bad neglect case, as she had been starved and left in a garden by her owners. She was such a sorry sight as she was so underweight that I could see what poor condition she was in from a distance, and that was through her thick Akita coat. That was so sad, she looked awful and I was so thankful to have found her in time and removed her from that situation. April was taken to the shelter at Derby and slowly put on weight and improved, so it was great being able to see her progress from the scared and starved dog I found to the beautiful healthy girl I saw go home."
And finally, have you ever adopted an animal from the RSPCA?
"I have my wonderful cat Jack, who was born with no eyes. I've had to make sure my whole house is suitable for him to get around, because he can be a bit clumsy due to his lack of vision! I also adopted my cat Molly, as well as 9 guinea pigs and 5 rabbits. More recently, I hand reared 2 tiny baby rabbits who had been rejected by their mum at the centre. They're so cheeky and full of character!"
Thank you Sarah!