Animal funds

Animal charity at risk of closing after nearly 160 years due to lack of volunteers

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

The Waterford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (WSPCA) urgently needs new members to join and get involved on the volunteer board.

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

“The problem is not with funding but with the fact that the work of the association does not seem to attract new people.

“The association has existed for almost 160 years. They have a good flow of funding, they have great governance structures, they have great staff, great relationships – very good organization.

“Basically, the problem is that the people who have run it for years and years, like the famous and wonderful Barbara Bent, are just getting older.

“Everyone currently involved has done their part, but they don’t seem to be able to attract new people. If they can’t find new people to play a role, the charity risks closure.”


Mr Smith explained that the charity attracts people from a variety of backgrounds and skills.

“We (as a veterinary practice) work a lot with the WSPCA. They are a fantastic organization in terms of governance and they are really well run.

“They need people with a variety of skills. They need people with accounting skills, people with PR skills, people with computer skills. So they need people with certain skills that don’t don’t even have to be 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 organization provides homes for animals taken into care, primarily as a result of cruelty, neglect and/or irresponsible breeding.

Barbara Bent of Waterford SPCA said: ‘It would be a huge loss if we were to close. The company has provided 160 years of service is something we can be proud of. Due to the age of the board members, they must now retire. Unfortunately, the public is not aware of this.

“Waterford SPCA has accomplished 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 subscribed to the Charities Bylaws Governance Code of Guidance.

“It’s not the dog and cat side of qualified people that we need. We need people involved in the administration.

“The people who brought the charity to where it is today are the type of people we need, people who take this kind of work seriously and are responsible. We receive partial funding from the Department of Agriculture, we must therefore respect strict criteria.

“The current board has worked so hard for many years. New blood and new ideas are urgently needed to move our work forward.

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