The Ulster Society Prevention Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) is the second oldest Animal Welfare Charity in the world. Founded in 1836 as the Belfast SPCA it’s first priority was to challenge the abuse of working horses, a daily occurence on the Victorian city streets. The eventual name change from Belfast to Ulster SPCA acknowledged the scale, scope and success of the Charitys expanded operations across the province.
The purpose of our founders to ‘Prevent Cruelty and Relieve Suffering’ remains as the driving force for our Charitable activities. The USPCA differs from many other animal welfare groups who focus on the needs of a single species with our unique committment to protect ALL our animals.
Whilst there are heartless individuals willing to inflict unnecessary suffering on animals the need for a USPCA will remain. This Society will ensure its resources are effectively used to prevent animal cruelty and relieve suffering. For over 175 years we have fulfilled our committent by adapting to the times. The USPCA will continue to protect ALL animals by utilising and adapting advances in technology to help tackle an ever present problem.
for the year ended 31 March 2012
The directors submit their audited financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2012. The directors have adopted the provisions of the Companies Act 2006 and the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) “Accounting and Reporting by Charities” issued in March 2005 (revised May 2008) in preparing the annual report and financial statements of the charity.
Reference and Administrative Information
Chief Executive/Secretary - Stephen Philpott
Chairman - Charles Edward South
Treasurer -Denise South
Structure, Governance and Management
The Society is a Company Limited by Guarantee, not having a share capital and satisfies the criteria set out in Section 60 of the Companies Act 2006 whereby it is exempted from the use of the word “Limited” as part of the company name.
The company is governed by a Memorandum and Articles of Association. The liability of each member of the company is limited to a contribution, in the event of the winding up of the Society, of an amount not exceeding £1.
The Directors have ultimate legal and financial responsibility for the affairs of the USPCA, although the management of the organisation is generally delegated to the staff, through the Chief Executive. The Board of Directors meet on a quarterly basis and consist of the Chief Executive, the Chairman, the Treasurer and the other Board Members. In addition, staff meetings are held on a monthly basis.
The Directors of the company at 31 March 2012, all of whom have been in office for the whole of the year ended on that date, unless otherwise stated, are listed on the information page.
The USPCA has an induction program for new directors in which directors are advised of their legal responsibility and requirements.
The society has been granted charitable status for taxation purposes and its registered number is XN 45066.
The Charity has a wholly owned subsidiary company, USPCA Trading Limited. The principal activity of the subsidiary company was the cultivation and distribution of plants and USPCA branded merchandise. The activities of the trading company have declined significantly as the Society entered into a contract from 1 November 2009 with Southern Health & Social Care Trust to join it in a social entrepreneurship partnership for which SEP funding has been obtained.
Risk management objectives and policies
The directors have actively reviewed the major risks which the charity faces and have in place sufficient resources in the event of adverse conditions. The directors have also examined other business and operational risks, which the charity faces and confirm that it has established systems to mitigate significant risks.
Objectives and activities
The core activity of the Ulster Society Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is evident by its title. For over 175 years the Charity’s purpose has remained constant ‘The Prevention of Cruelty and Relief of Suffering’. A commitment that applies equally to all animals be they domestic pets, farm livestock or native wildlife. The USPCA consistently advocates ‘responsible pet ownership’.
The USPCA seeks to achieve its objectives by lawful means.
During the period covered by this report a raft of new Animal Welfare Legislation was passed by the Stormont Assembly. They are summarised in this report within ‘Achievements and performance’ and their consequences is assessed in ‘Future developments’.
The Charities ‘helpline’ provides valuable information and advice to its many callers and the USPCA Welfare Officers fulfil their remit by effecting animal rescues and exposing wrong doing through the media.
Welfare Officers are available for purposes of education by making school / youth group visits with the objective of fostering our own goals of responsible pet ownership.
The USPCA provides kennelling services for Newry & Mourne District Council with the impounded animals being housed on our Carnbane Facility and rehomed through BARK Kennels in Ballymoney.
The Charity represents the views of its members by lobbying local politicians and ensuring the media is aware of welfare concerns on a regional and national level.
The ARK Project, a unique partnership between the Charity and Southern Health & Social Care Trust and based at the USPCA Bessbrook Facility makes a positive contribution to both the lives of the animals cared for and a team of carers comprising local adults who are challenged by learning difficulty.
The Benvarden facility hosts Benvarden Kennels, a charity setup by former shelter manager Louise Neill, successfully re-homing hundreds of unwanted animals from the North Antrim site each year.
As a consequence of the money motivated decision by Belfast City Council to amalgamate kennelling services with those of Carrickfergus Council the USPCA Carryduff facility remains vacant.
The USPCA is active on committees such as the Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Stakeholder Forum, a group with representatives of the farming community and veterinary science. Farming in Northern Ireland is a major source of employment. It is left to the USPCA to ensure animal welfare is not compromised in the quest for higher profit.
The Charity is a member of Eurogroup for Animals, a forum based in Brussels that lobbies on behalf of Animal Welfare Organisations representing the 27 member states.
Achievements and performance
For many years the USPCA, on behalf of our members, has lobbied our political representatives at Stormont, Westminster and Brussels seeking changes to our outdated Animal Welfare Legislation. During the course of 2011 the Stormont Assembly addressed outstanding issues concerning animal welfare and dog control by way of several new or amended pieces of legislation. The USPCA took part in the written consultations and numerous discussions on the proposed changes. It is acknowledged the Society’s persistent exposure of animal welfare shortcomings in the now obsolete 1976 Act played a key role in obtaining the new legislation.
What follows is a précis of the Acts, the full text can be found on the legislation.gov.uk website:
Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011
Relates to companion animals including equines, this Act increases both the range of offences and the penalties available to the Courts and brings Northern Ireland into line with England & Wales. Whilst the Act received Royal Assent in March 2011 it was not fully implemented until April 2012 when enforcement powers were passed from the PSNI to Animal Welfare Officers appointed by local authorities. These officers, five in total, cover all 26 council areas, they have limited powers of entry, can issue ‘Improvement Notices’ requiring owners to rectify shortcomings, seize animals and mount prosecutions.
Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011
Described by the NI Environment Agency as an Act passed to make provision about biodiversity; to amend the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 and Part 4 of the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002; to abolish game licences and game dealers’ licences; to prohibit hare coursing events and to amend the Game Preservation Act (Northern Ireland) 1928. Its scope is as wide rangin gas its title and enforcement is the responsibility of PSNI and / or Inspectors authorised by the NI Environment Agency.
Dogs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011
An update of the Dogs Order (NI) 1983, its purpose remains dog control. The legislative changes are intended to reduce the number of stray and unwanted dogs. The Act authorises dog wardens to issue fixed penalty notices for a wide range of offences. These punish owners whose animal/s are not licenced, are allowed to foul in public places, worry livestock or not kept under proper control. It is intended to assist in owner traceability by way of the compulsory micro-chipping of dogs. Licence costs and categories of licence are amended by the Act. A significant change
to the Dangerous Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 allows a Magistrate, if he / she considers a technically illegal dog poses no danger to the public, to impose conditions on the dog, such as neutering, which must be adhered to. If the conditions are met in full within 2 months of a Magistrate’s decision, the Council may then issue a Certificate of Exemption to the owner and licence the dog. Enforcement of all aspects of this Act remains the responsibility of local authority dog wardens.
The period under review in this report was one of financial uncertainty for all welfare charities. More animals than ever suffered from abandonment and neglect. As need increased welfare costs spiralled threatening the future of any overstretched charity. Fulfilling the USPCA’s remit necessitated prioritising and monitoring the use of our human, financial and physical resources.
A rapid increase in the numbers of abandoned and unwanted horses throughout Ireland proved to be a problem for welfare groups and a profit opportunity for unscrupulous dealers. The USPCA investigation into their illegal activities begun in 2011 is on-going and having a positive impact on equine welfare both locally and beyond this jurisdiction.
Operation Meles, a UK wide badger crime initiative was launched locally by Environment Minister Alex Attwood. The USPCA fulfilled its commitment to Meles by way of covert operations targeting criminal gangs operating in a number of areas. When the USPCA obtained visual evidence of criminal involvement PSNI stepped in, arrests were made, equipment seized, dogs rescued and Court cases are on-going. High profile exposure of badger persecution in the media heightened public awareness of wildlife crime and triggered a wave of revulsion.
Puppy farms are increasing in number as are their victims both human and canine. Sales are boosted by the ability to advertise unregulated on the internet. An issue we addressed in 2011 and remains a priority.
Our Inspectorate worked closely with other agencies, such as PSNI, to identify and prosecute animal welfare offenders. Many animals were rescued and re-homed as a direct result of these activities and offenders brought before the Courts.
For full report including Auditor’s Report and Financial Statements download the PDF.
Unit 6 Carnbane Industrial Estate (East)
Newry, Co Down BT35 6QH
(Near Fiveways Roundabout)
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