What We Do

Information on the DSPCA

We find many students writing in to ask for information about the DSPCA, what we do in our rescue and rehoming centre and clinics, how many animals we receive each year and what kind of animals we see.

If you would like information for projects, write to our Education team, DSPCA, Mount Venus Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16 with information about your project and what help you need.  

What does DSPCA stand for?

The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

When was the DSPCA founded? Who founded it? Why was it founded?

The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was established in 1840 and is the oldest and largest animal charity in the Republic of Ireland.

In its early days the Society was known as the Dublin Auxiliary of the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals and it was founded the year the RSPCA received Royal Patronage, over the years it has had many names including "The Dublin Home for Starving and Forsaken Cats". 

The Society was based at Grand Canal Quay in Dublin City from its formation in 1840 up until 1990, and generations of Dublin people were familiar with it as “The Dogs and Cats Home” and at times as “The Cats & Dogs Home”.

In 1990 the Society moved to Potterton Restfields at Stocking Lane in Rathfarnham, a suburb of Dublin. The land was bequeathed to the Society in the 1930s as a place to graze retired working horses.

In 2003 the Society moved to its new premises on Mount Venus Road, Rathfarnham where state of the art facilites were built to continue the work of the Society. The DSPCA continues to care for the sick, injured and cruely treated animals in Dublin city and county.

What is the DSPCA's mission?

The primary objectives of the DSPCA are the prevention of cruelty to animals and animal rehabilitation by:

  1. Enforcing existing laws and co-operating with the relevant authorities 
  2. Preparing submissions for and advocating improved legislation 
  3. Generating and sustaining public opinion throughout Dublin and Ireland for responsible attitudes towards animals 
  4. Assisting bodies throughout Ireland, and elsewhere, with the prevention of cruelty to and protection of animals 
  5. Providing suitable facilities for animal care and recovery
  6. Education to end cruelty

What are the DSPCA's guidelines for animal welfare? (5 Freedoms)

Freedom from hunger and thirst. 
Freedom from discomfort. 
Freedom from pain, injury or disease. 
Freedom to express normal behaviour. 
Freedom from fear and distress. 

Is the DSPCA funded by the government?

The DSPCA is an independent charity. It is not a Government body.  We do receive a grant each year towards spaying and neutering of dogs and cats.  Our funding is gathered through fundraising events, sponsorship, membership and legacys.

Who works at DSPCA?

The DSPCA employs 52 full time, part time and casual staff. They are assisted by almost 400 volunteers. Animal carers, inspectors, veterinarians and vet nurses, education officers, a fundraiser,  and public relations and marketing staff, are all needed to keep the DSPCA functioning.

What services does the DSPCA provide?


DSPCA Inspectors investigate complaints of cruelty and neglect to animals, markets, pet shops and areas where animals are used for public entertainment.

In DSPCA we currently have 2 inspectors investigating cruelty complaints and picking up sick and injured animals.


The Society conducts regular reviews of existing legislation and regulations and makes recommendations to the Government and local authorities concerning the need for amendments, new laws or regulations and Codes of Practice.

Animal Rescue: 

The DSPCA Animal Welfare Centre provides sanctuary to about 6,000 animals per year and its ambulances collect sick and injured stray animals throughout the Dublin area. 

Animal Clinic & Hospital: 

Veterinarians employed by the Society treat and care for all rescued animals. They provide assistance to the Inspectorate, prepare animals for adoption, accept a number of welfare
cases, give discounts to pensioners and provide a service to other welfare groups. Four subsidised clinics are provided for people in receipt of Social Welfare or for those on pensions. The Vets spay and neuter all dogs and cats over the age of 6 months before they leave our rescue and rehoming centre and all animals are microchipped.


DSPCA Education is a dynamic enterprise that develops responsible and caring behaviour towards animals. Featuring a remarkable collection of animals, state-of-the art technology and interactive learning resources, DSPCA Education provides engaging learning opportunities for people of all ages.

What does the DSPCA Education programme offer?

The Education Centre at Rathfarnham offers students a wide range of learning experiences. Our rescue and rehoming centre is stocked with a selection of pets and farm animals for children to handle or observe up-close. The lecture room can hold over 50 children and offers the benefits of DVD, video and on-line technology, broadcast on a screen that is four metres long and three metres high. Opportunities to visit the DSPCA’s animal rescue and rehoming centre can also be arranged.

Community groups, pre-schools, primary, secondary schools and third level colleges can arrange for DSPCA education staff to visit them to give talks and presentations.

Sign up to receive our monthly Primary School Newsletter.


Volunteers are a very important part of the DSPCA. There are over 400 registered volunteers at DSPCA. They can work in a variety of areas all over the organisation.


Events are held all over Dublin to raise awareness of animal welfare issues, generate much needed funds for the society. Come along and get involved!


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