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 occurrence on the Victorian city streets. The eventual name change from Belfast to Ulster SPCA acknowledged the scale, scope and success of the Charity’s 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 commitment 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 commitment 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.

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Directors’ Report

The directors submit their audited financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2015. 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

Company Secretary – David Wilson

Chairperson - Helen Wilson

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 Ulster Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (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 consists of the Chairman, the Treasurer, the Honorary Secretary and other Board members. In addition, staff meetings are held on a monthly basis. The Directors of the company at 31 March 2015, 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. Charitable status The society has been granted charitable status for taxation purposes and its registered number is XN 45066. The society has registered as a charity with the Charities Commission Northern Ireland and its registered number is NIC102755. Subsidiary undertakings The Charity has a wholly owned subsidiary company, USPCA Trading Limited. The principal activity of the subsidiary company was the sale of pet supplies. 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

In keeping with the revised Articles of Association the object at the core of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) charitable activities is The Advancement of Animal Welfare. All of the work of the USPCA falls under this object, which is an approved purpose as listed in the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.
The Charity seeks to:
• Obtain justice for animals and to endeavour, by every legitimate means, to put an end to cruelty
to animals and to encourage kindness and humanity in their treatment;
• Relieve the suffering of animals in need of care and attention and, in particular, to provide and
maintain facilities for the reception, care and treatment of such animals;
• Promote humane behaviour towards animals;
• Provide appropriate care and attention for animals in need by reason of sickness, injury, maltreatment,
poor circumstances or ill usage;
• To educate the public in matters pertaining to animal welfare in general and the prevention of
cruelty and suffering among animals;
• Advance the education of the public in responsible pet ownership, care for animals, responsibilityfor animals and the consequences of not doing so.

Achievements and performance

In the furtherance of this object the USPCA:
• Operates an Animal Hospital in Newry committed to relieve the suffering of animals in need and
to provide a range of services to animals whose keepers are unable to afford essential veterinary
treatment. The hospital treats and relieves the suffering of native wildlife;
• Relieves the suffering of Northern Irelands pets and wildlife unable, by distance or pressing
need, to access the Newry facility by issuing vouchers to veterinary practices within the animal’s
• Provides temporary accommodation to companion animals whose owners are incapacitated
through ill health or have died and houses such animals until long term arrangements for their
future are in place;
• The hospital treats injured or suffering wildlife with the objective of successful reintroduction
into the natural environment;
• In partnership with Trussell Trust and others operating food banks throughout Northern Ireland
the USPCA provides pet food parcels to sustain companion animals that belong to individuals or
families in need of support;
• Provides welfare talks to schools and community groups.
• Advise pet owners availing of our charitable services on animal health regimes and caring for
their companion animal;
• Provides free neutering and spaying to counter the needless cull of unwanted pets and control
feral cat populations;
• Warn an unsuspecting public about the abuses endemic in puppy farms and the perils of affording
them financial support;
• Is an active member of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Animal
Welfare Stakeholder Forum and contributes to discussion and consultation on policy issues;
• The USPCA is a pro-active member of Eurogroup for Animals, a Brussels based organisation whose remit is to improve animal health and welfare standards throughout the EU

• The charity remains active in the identification and highlighting of criminal activities such a badger persecution, carted deer hunts, organised dog fighting and cock fighting.

• The performance and quality of the veterinary services at the Animal Hospital is regulated by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
• The Board of the USPCA have adapted and expanded their services to accommodate changing needs. The one constant is our commitment to our charitable object ‘The Advancement of Animal Welfare.’

Activities and Performance


Throughout the period covered by this report the Trustees of the USPCA were engaged undertaking a major review of the charity’s governance. This was instigated by the Trustees to reflect changes in Company Law, the arrival of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) as an effective regulator, and the Trustees recognition of the need for legislative compliance. The Board began its task by initiating a review of the Society’s governing document. With professional guidance new articles were drafted, discussed at length and a final draft submitted to the regulator for their consent. This was granted and the revised governing document was adopted and implemented by the Board.


Going forward all Northern Ireland Charities must register with CCNI in order to retain their charitable status and derive the associated benefits. Evidence of an approved Charitable Purpose and proof of good governance are essential to successful registration. As a result of ongoing engagement with CCNI, the adoption of new Articles of Association, changes in Company Law and revised Accounting Procedures (SORPS) the Board recognised the need for an all-embracing document and commissioned a USPCA Governance Handbook. This task was carried out with appropriate input from CCNI and our professional advisers. The final document was submitted to CCNI as evideThe final document was submitted to CCNI as evidence of good governance and risk control and USPCA Charitable Registration is now complete.

Animal Hospital

The Trustees as part of the Society’s Strategic Plan set annual performance targets for the USPCA Animal Hospital. These objectives with regard to core activities such as Neutering / Spaying and Microchipping were met in full. The relief of animal suffering, a key objective of the Charity, was double the anticipated demand. The success of this service, in effect an Animal A&E, is indicative of an ever increasing need brought about by depressed economic circumstances. At 106% of target our Veterinary Voucher Scheme has ensured many suffering animals, unable to access the Animal Hospital, have been treated within their community and relieved of suffering. The partnerships with Food Banks across the province have positive effects on the wellbeing of both the companion animals and their owners. The scheme exceeded target by some 20% and has kept pets in good health and with caring owners. Directors’ Report and Financial Statements Year ended 31st March 2015 page 5 Trussel Trust Northern Ireland Regional Manager, Suzanne Downey, expresses their gratitude on behalf of its many pet owning service users. “Our partnership with the USPCA has delivered an excellent service to Foodbank clients and their pets across the province. The emergency pet box has avoided unnecessary animal suffering from hunger and the need for re-homing of much loved companions. The Trussell Trust Foodbank Network is delighted to partner with the USPCA and considers the pet boxes to be a fantastic addition to the services on offer at our branches. ” The value of the Animal Hospital as an education resource was underlined by its popularity with schools and groups evidenced by the achievement of 120% of target performance. The Veterinary facility within the Animal Hospital benefitted from capital acquisitions such as blood analysis equipment. This was approved by a Board committed to keep pace with advances in veterinary medicine ensuring suffering animals receive the highest standards of care.

Laws and Lobbying

Lines of communication were opened with several political parties and a long over-due Stormont All-Party Group on Animal Welfare was set-up as a result. The USPCA was invited to address the inaugural meeting of the group and took the opportunity to elaborate on issues of concern. A review of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 was initiated by DARD during the period covered by this report. The USPCA made its views known on problem areas such as enforcement. The All Party Group has agreed to address USPCA raised issues such as Circuses with Animals and the inclusion of guidance on Animal Welfare in the primary school curriculum.


The USPCA remains a respected member of Eurogroup for Animals. Based in Brussels, Eurogroup represents animal welfare charities from each of the EU Member states. Its objective is to protect animals, pets, livestock and native species from cruelty and persecution. The most effective means of protection is by way of EU Legislation and benefits such as a ban on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals are proof of the valuable work it carries out. The USPCA remains a member of a working group with a wide ranging remit on the welfare of cats and dogs.


The views of the charity in relation to a wide range of animal welfare related issues were made public through both conventional and social media. Filming of ‘The Dog Factory’ an investigation into ‘Puppy Farming’ by BBC1 Scotland was completed. Many of the worst abuses exposed in the programme took place within Northern Ireland and it is the responsibility of our local authorities who licence breeders to ensure the shortcoming featured are effectively addressed.

Address: Unit 6 Carnbane Industrial Estate (East) Newry, Co Down BT35 6QH (Near Fiveways Roundabout)

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9.00am to 7.00pm Monday – Saturday 1.00pm – 6.00pm Sunday

Previous Annual Reports

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USPCA-Annual-Report-2011---2012  Annual Report Cover 2013fin-report