Welcome to Political Animal

Welcome to the RSPCA’s resource for politicians, their staff and decision makers. On this site you will find a wide range of briefings and information on the key issues the RSPCA is working on as well as how the RSPCA provides a service for you and your constituents.


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Why does the RSPCA prosecute?

Wherever possible, the RSPCA offers advice and assistance to improve animal welfare, including giving people time to make improvements to their standards of care. However, this is not always possible or appropriate, for example, if there has been a deliberate act of violence against an animal, where people won't accept assistance, or in extreme cases of neglect. It is under these types of circumstances when we consider prosecution under laws, such as the Animal Welfare Act 2006. When RSPCA inspectors have reason to believe that an offence has been committed, they prepare a case file containing evidence such as witness statements, photographs, and veterinary or other expert advice. Once the investigation is complete, the file is submitted to our prosecutions team, who consider whether the case ought to be prosecuted. The prosecutions team make the decision whether or not to prosecute individuals accused of offences relating to animals, with the RSPCA’s approach reflecting the principles of the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

What is the purpose of RSPCA’s political work?

A key element of the RSPCA's work to prevent animal cruelty is to change laws and policy to improve animal welfare. We do this by raising awareness of the values of the RSPCA, providing an information service to government, politicians, their staff and all relevant stakeholders on animal welfare issues. Our political teams take their work in the political and public affairs arena seriously and is committed to encouraging best practice amongst other public affairs professionals.

What is the RSPCA's policy concerning political donations?

The RSPCA has worked for over 190 years with politicians from all legal political parties to develop and improve animal welfare. We do this both at different levels of government and directly with individuals and will continue to do so.

The Society works on a non-party political basis and does not endorse any political party, their politicians, or their policies. Nor do we accept any donations (whether purely financial or for services) from any political party or their representative, including for political PR purposes.

If you have an animal welfare enquiry from a constituent...

with concerns about an animal being mistreated, neglected or treated cruelly...

If you or your constituent are concerned about the ill treatment of an animal, please ring the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty and advice line 0300 1234 999. The RSPCA treats all reports in the strictest confidence.

about stray dogs...

Following the introduction of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, Local Authorities have sole statutory responsibility for stray dogs. This legislation terminated any Police responsibility for stray dogs.

Anyone seeking to have a stray dog collected should contact their Local Authority.

RSPCA Cymru only collects stray dogs in a major emergency, such as if the animal is in imminent danger or risk from suffering and the Local Authority is unable to attend.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 details a Local Authority’s responsibilities in relation to stray dogs, such as the appointment of a relevant officer, and ensuring stray dogs are seized and detained for a minimum period of seven days.

about a lost pet...

They could contact their local veterinary surgeries, animal centres, and the police. They could also try putting up posters in the area with a picture of their pet, and advertising in newsagents, schools and local newspapers. Constituents who have lost a dog they should contact their local council’s dog warden.

Having pets microchipped or bringing back the dog licence to improve traceability would make any future searches easier.

who has found a lost or abandoned animal...

If an injured animal is found, people should contact the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty and advice line 0300 1234 999 and be ready to provide details of the animal and its precise location. Where possible and safe to do so, they should confine the animal and/or stay with it, keeping it quiet, still and warm. It is advised NOT to attempt to feed or give water to any injured animal.

who has found an orphaned wild animal...

Many young animals are brought to RSPCA centres by well meaning members of the public who are concerned that they have been orphaned. But this will not always have been the case.

If you or your constituent find a baby animal that appears to be alone it is best to watch from a distance for 24 hours, unless it is in immediate danger, before calling the RSPCA on our national cruelty and advice line 0300 1234 999.

For more detailed information on individual animals please visit the main RSPCA website.

who is concerned about noise from animals e.g. dog barking

complaints about noise from animals, such as dogs barking, should be reported to the local authority. The local authority's animal warden and/or noise abatement team will usually deal with such complaints, and will try to resolve the problem.

Where a welfare concern is raised as a result of an investigation, the local authority will usually liaise with the RSPCA directly.

with concerns about licensed animal establishments...

If you or your constituent have concerns about the conditions or activities of a licensed animal establishment such as a pet shop, boarding, dog breeding or horse riding establishment, contact should be made with the Local Authority, who hold responsibility for licensing animal establishments.

with concerns about vet bills

Owners must take their pet to a vet as soon as possible if it becomes ill or is injured. It is a criminal offence to knowingly deny an animal veterinary treatment and cause it to suffer unnecessarily.
If they have a problem with paying for treatment, some vets may allow them to pay in installments to spread the cost. Furthermore, the RSPCA, PDSA and the Blue Cross provide veterinary treatment at reduced costs.

Local RSPCA branches are run independently by locally elected committees of trustees. They can sometimes help with vets’ bills if people are receiving certain state benefits. However, this will depend on their current financial position. For more information, contact your local RSPCA branch.
We also advise people to consider taking out a pet insurance policy for a few pounds a month. This will cover unexpected vets’ bills in the future.