Have a question about RSPCA South Australia?

You can probably find the answer in our Frequently Asked Questions section below.


What does RSPCA stand for?

RSPCA is an acronym for Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

RSPCA is an independent, non-government, community-based charity. Across the country, we rely almost entirely on community and corporate support to fund the vital animal welfare services we provide.

Our role is to protect animals against cruelty and provide treatment and care for thousands of sick, injured and abandoned animals.

When, where and how was RSPCA formed?

Established in London in 1824, RSPCA was recognised as the first organisation in the world to concentrate solely on animal welfare issues.

From there, the first Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Australia was formed in Victoria in 1871.

Not long after, on December 6, 1875, a public meeting was convened in the Adelaide Town Hall to establish a South Australian body of RSPCA.

You can read our full history here.


What belief guides RSPCA’s work in South Australia and beyond?

Our work is guided by a belief that all animals are entitled to enjoy what we call “the five freedoms for animals”.

These freedoms are:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst – by providing easy access to fresh water and a diet that maintains full health and vigour.
  2. Freedom from discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease – by prevention through rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment do not cause mental suffering.

Who benefits from RSPCA’s work?

RSPCA is South Australia’s oldest animal welfare organisation.

We are a charity working to prevent suffering and cruelty to all animals by continually and actively promoting their care, enforcing and improving animal welfare legislation in South Australia, providing high-quality rescue and welfare services, raising awareness of animal welfare issues and leading public debate.

As such, you could say that the entire South Australian community (both animals and humans) benefits from our work.

How many RSPCA member societies exist in Australia?

Across the country, eight state and territory societies exist. We are all members of RSPCA Australia.

For more information on each member society, visit the links below:

How many RSPCA animals shelters are in South Australia?

RSPCA South Australia has three animal shelters located throughout the state, in Lonsdale, Whyalla and Port Lincoln.

For full details on our shelters, including contact information and opening hours, click here.

How is RSPCA South Australia funded?

RSPCA South Australia is a non-government, community based charity. We rely almost entirely on the generous support of the community to survive.

More than 90 per cent of our funding comes from community donations and corporate support. We couldn’t do it all without your support.

What is animal cruelty and what is the most common form of cruelty?

For the team at RSPCA South Australia, there is no such thing as a typical day. For our rescue officers and inspectors, each day is unpredictable and challenging. Our staff often deal with physically and emotionally demanding situations. Each case of cruelty against a defenceless animal can be equally heartbreaking.

Cruelty can be divided into four main categories:

Cruelty through ignorance

RSPCA South Australia encounters many animals that have suffered merely because their owners have failed to understand how to adequately care for them. The owner may not intend to be cruel, but rather lacks an understanding of the responsibilities required to look after an animal in an appropriate manner.

Cruelty through neglect

Neglect is a primary cause of cruelty and occurs when a person has inadequate consideration for the condition of their animal. There could be various reasons for this including financial hardship, mental illness, or a lack of compassion. Neglect of animals comes in many forms including no available shelter for the animal, deficient food or water, neglected grooming and lack of veterinary treatment.

Malicious intent

Deliberate acts of cruelty to animals are impossible to comprehend and are one of the most difficult aspects of working at RSPCA. Some types of malicious and senseless cruelty witnessed by RSPCA include kicking, beating, poisoning, intentional starvation and even torture of defenceless animals as well as organised events such as cock fighting and dog fighting.

Endorsed cruelty

Nationally, the RSPCA produces campaigns in an effort to educate the wider community about animal welfare practices that while legal, are considered cruel and unnecessary. An example of this is jumps racing duck shooting, the live animal export trade, rodeos and intensive farming systems.

How does RSPCA help animals that have been mistreated?

For more than 100 years, we have been the state’s only animal welfare charity entrusted by State Parliament to investigate animal cruelty under SA’s Animal Welfare Act.

If an animal is mistreated or neglected by its owner and seized by RSPCA, our staff and volunteers do everything possible to provide veterinary care and rehabilitate the animal, bring to justice those responsible for the cruelty and ultimately find the animal a loving new home.

How do I report animal cruelty?

If you witness an act of animal cruelty, please immediately call our 24-hour hotline on 1300 4 777 22. You can also make an online report via our website.

What are the penalties for people who mistreat animals?

Persons found guilty of an offence under the Animal Welfare Act or Animal Welfare Regulations can be fined up to $50,000 or sentenced to up to four years’ imprisonment.

Please see our ‘welfare inspectors’ page for more information on what happens after RSPCA receives a cruelty report.

What animals are currently available for adoption?

To view all our animals currently available for adoption across South Australia, please see our adoption pages.

How many animals does the RSPCA care for each year?

Each year, RSPCA South Australia cares for more than 8,000 animals in need. Many have been seized from abuse or rescued from emergencies. Others are lost, abandoned or surrendered.

Where do RSPCA animals come from?

Many animals that come into our care are stray animals brought to us by local councils.

Animals are also surrendered into our care by members of the public who are no longer able or willing to care for them. In addition, a large number of animals come into our care via our dedicated Rescue Officers and Inspectors who can seize an animal from a situation where they are not receiving adequate care.

What is the most common animal RSPCA cares for?

Cats and kittens are the most common animals that RSPCA South Australia cares for. Each year, more than 5,000 cats and kittens come into our three shelters and foster care network.

Besides companion animals such as dogs and cats, we also care for a wide range of animals of all shapes and sizes. This includes rabbits and other small animals such as guinea pigs, mice and rats, birds, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and native animals.

Our rescue officers have even rescued a five foot long carpet python that was entangled under the bonnet of a car!

When is RSPCA’s busiest time of the year?

The summer months are particularly busy for our shelters and rescue officers. The warm summer months are known as ‘kitten season’ when cats breed and have litters of kittens. Many of these cats and kittens end up in our care through no fault of their own.

Along with our wonderful team of volunteer foster carers, we provide them with specialist veterinary care, food, water, shelter and a chance to finding a loving home to call their own.

Can I surrender my animal to RSPCA?

We understand that sometimes situations occur or life circumstances change and you may find you can no longer take care of your pet.

We also know that giving up your beloved animal is an incredibly difficult decision – so thank you for reaching out to us for help. You can find full information about surrendering an animal here.

Can I foster RSPCA animals?

Yes! We are always in need of people and families willing to offer a temporary home to animals in need. You can find full details about our fostering program, including our application form, here.

How do I apply to become an RSPCA volunteer?

Volunteers are the lifeblood of RSPCA South Australia. Some volunteering positions involve direct interaction with animals, while others involve providing support without direct contact.

Wherever you decide to volunteer, you will make a lifesaving difference to animals in need. Every role is vital.

You can find full details of our volunteering program, including current opportunities and application forms, here.

How can I apply to work at RSPCA South Australia?

If you are interested in joining our team, please keep an eye on our ‘careers and employment’ page for vacant positions announcements.

Where can I find out more about RSPCA policies and animal care advice?

RSPCA Australia’s Knowledge Base is a hugely informative online resource that contains a wealth of information on a wide range of animal welfare related topics and issues.


Didn’t find what you were looking for? Email your question or query to info@rspcasa.org.au or call 1300 4 777 22.