Volunteering at an SPCA: First Steps

Do you want to volunteer at the SPCA? This is the first in a series of posts loaded with information to help you learn about us and will serve as your guide as you think about volunteering or begin your volunteer work with us. Feel free to ask questions! We believe all questions are important, so please do not hesitate to ask.


The SPCA is a registered non-profit organisation. We receive no funding from Government whatsoever.
Our committee members are all unpaid volunteers and we therefore gratefully acknowledge and value the time that you are giving to our society.

Objects of our Society

The objects of the Society are:

  • To prevent cruelty and the ill-treatment of animals by promoting their good treatment by man;
  • To prevent wanton and improper treatment of animals;
  • To encourage kindness and consideration towards animals, including the establishment and promotion of Junior Movements;
  • To maintain and protect animal and bird life in their natural habitats.
  • To educate the entire community with regard to the humane treatment and compassion of animals.


The first SPCA in South Africa started approximately 125 years ago and today there are 89 individual SPCAs throughout South Africa plus the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) with its nationally operational units. SPCAs work to prevent cruelty to animals through education, assistance and support. We work with and assist all species of animals.
The Germiston and Bedfordview SPCA was founded 1906 and is one of the oldest SPCAs in the country. This year we turn 111 years old and we plan to be around for the next 100 years too.
The maintenance of high standards of welfare and quality of service to the community were addressed when the self-governing Act of Parliament came into force in the early 1990s when Act 169 of 1993 was enacted: – the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. This means that each SPCA operates according to a set of standard regulations against which their performance and the public’s expectations can be measured.
Outreach projects are held in areas where there is no individual SPCA and where there are no veterinarians. These areas are normally rural and impoverished.
As an animal welfare organisation, we believe that the way to fix problems is literally to go out there and be part of the solution.
There is a huge difference between deliberate, knowing cruelty to animals and the result of poverty and lack of education. Add to that the element of available resources. When animal abuse is intentional, we can and do not only officially warn but we lay criminal charges. But when people are trying their best and come to us for help or are receptive to our welfare advice, then we more than meet them half way. We go out to them.

Basic things you can expect from us:

  • To uphold the standards of the SPCA movement
  • Clean facilities and vehicles
  • To be treated with courtesy and respect by the staff and volunteers
  • To know that the staff and volunteers are handling the animals correctly with care and dignity and that they are setting an example to the public
  • To respond immediately to an emergency
  • To respond within 24 hours to a cruelty complaint
  • To receive a telephonic report-back of what has happened if you lodged a cruelty complaint
  • Not to refuse admission to an unwanted, abandoned or stray animal
  • To be vigilant when finding homes for animals

Our mission is exactly as our name indicates to prevent cruelty to animals by way of education, law enforcement, pro-active and reactive activities. This means that we are concerned with the welfare of all animals from the tiniest mouse to the largest blue whale.
In other words, we stick our noses in where there are domestic animals, farm animals, working animals, traction animals, animals reared for food, wild animals, animals used for exhibition or entertainment, animals used in sport, hunted animals, animals placed in danger and animals used in research.
Since its inception the SPCA’s respect for animals has been unconditional – the abused animal’s right to medical assistance or, if necessary, a dignified, humane death.

Some things to consider before volunteering

Volunteering can have a positive effect on your community AND yourself. But before you make the decision to create the time to volunteer, stop and ask yourself a few important questions:

  • Do I have any previous/current volunteer experience or will this be my first experience volunteering?
  • Do I have skills that could be useful to the SPCA?
  • Would I like to learn new skills, and am I willing to take the time to learn them?
  • Do I enjoy interacting with people? Am I friendly and outgoing?
  • Why am I interested in volunteering at the SPCA? What do I know about the SPCA’s services and programs?
  • Do I accept the philosophy of the SPCA regarding its animal receiving, adoption, spay/neuter and euthanasia policies?
  • Do I want to work directly with animals? Am I comfortable handling dogs, cats, puppies and kittens of all sizes, ages and personalities?
  • Am I comfortable working with farm animals / horses?
  • Do I have any allergies or conditions that I should consider before working directly with the animals?
  • Would I prefer to volunteer directly at the society or to volunteer in the community with animals? Or would I prefer to support the SPCA’s work “behind the scenes”, helping with other tasks such as fundraising?
  • Can I commit to being a volunteer on a consistent basis for at least 1 year? Are there personal or professional obligations that would routinely be a barrier to being able to commit to my volunteer responsibilities?

If you love animals and enjoy working with them, WE NEED YOU! Volunteers can help in many ways and no matter how you choose to help, the animals benefit.

Still interested? Apply here.

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