South East animal charity fears closure due to lack of volunteers

South East animal charity fears closure due to lack of volunteers

Sarah Slater

An animal charity is in danger of permanently closing its doors after helping endangered pets for almost 160 years.

Waterford’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (WSPCA) is in urgent need of new members to join and to become involved on the voluntary board.

William Smith of City Vets, based in Waterford City, said it is vital the charity is saved from closure.


“The problem is not around funding but because the work of the charity doesn’t seem to attract new people.

“The charity has been in existence for almost 160 years. They've got a good funding stream, they've got great governance structures, they've got great staff, great relationships - a really good organisation.

"Basically, the problem is that the people who have been running it for years and years, such as the well known and wonderful Barbara Bent, are just getting older.

“All of those currently involved have done their bit, but they don't seem to be able to attract new people. If they can't get new people to take a role, the charity is facing closure."



Mr Smith explained the charity is appealing to people with a variety of backgrounds and skills to join.

"We (as a veterinary practice) work a lot with the WSPCA. They're a fantastic organisation in terms of their governance and it is really well run.

"They need people with a variety of skills. They need people with accounting skills, people with PR skills, people with IT skills. So, they need people with some skills who don't need to be even particularly good with animals.”

Founded in 1870, Waterford SPCA has been a registered charity since 1921 and is affiliated with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA).


The organisation provides homes for animals taken into their care, mainly as a result of cruelty, neglect, and/or irresponsible breeding.

Barbara Bent of Waterford SPCA said: “It would be a huge loss if we had to close. The society has provided 160 years of service is something to be proud of. Due to the age of people on the Board they now have to retire. Unfortunately the public aren’t aware of this.

“Waterford SPCA has achieved so much for the city and county. We do everything very carefully and to run a charity everything has to be done very well and we are fully registered with charity regulations governance guidance code.”

“It’s not the dog and cat side of things of skilled people we need. We need those involved in administration.

"The people who got the charity where it is today are the type of people we need, people who take this type of work seriously and responsible. We get part funding from the Department of Agriculture, so we have to adhere to strict criteria.

“The current board has worked so hard for a lot of years. Young blood and new ideas are urgently needed to drive our work forward.”

Anyone who is interested in getting involved in saving the charity from closure or further information can call 086-7930465.