This privacy policy covers all personal data that is gathered by The RSPCA (Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Danaher Animal Home, charity number (1112369). By providing us with personal information, you consent to the collection and use of this information in accordance with this privacy policy. In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679, we will not keep your personal data for longer than is necessary. We may update this policy from time to time without notice to you, so please check it regularly.

1. Privacy Policy

How We May Use Your Information

We will not rent, swap or sell your personal information to other organisations for them to use in their own marketing activities.

The legal basis that we rely on for processing your data will depend upon the circumstances in which it is being collected and used, but will in most cases fall into one of the following categories:

  • where you have provided your consent to allow us to use your data in a certain way
  • where the processing is necessary to carry out for the performance of a contract with you
  • where the processing is necessary in order for us to comply with a legal obligation; or
  • where it is in our legitimate interests to perform our functions, for example, processing donations or sending you administrative communications
  • where our legitimate interest is to raise funds and to deliver our charitable purposes

Legal Requirements

We may disclose your personal/sensitive personal information when required to by law, for example, to HMRC for tax purposes or to police forces for the prevention or detection of crime. Further, we safeguard the sharing of such information by using formalised information sharing agreements with organisations where appropriate, or on an ad hoc basis after ensuring the request and disclosure are legally compliant.

What Personal Information We Collect About You

We may collect personal information about you when you:

  • ask about our activities
  • register with us for information
  • sign up for publications or newsletters
  • volunteer or fundraise for us
  • pledge or make a donation or sign up for an event
  • become involved in one of our campaigns
  • rehome, adopt or foster an animal from us
  • register for home for life
  • telephone, write, contact us online or text us or otherwise provide us with your personal information

This can include information such as your name, communication preferences, email address, postal address, telephone number, mobile number, date of birth or bank account details so we can process donations, or information as to whether you are a taxpayer to help us to claim gift aid.

We do not collect sensitive personal information about our supporters unless there is a clear reason for doing so, for example, relating to your health, and only where appropriate - such as participation in a marathon or similar fundraising event, or where we need to ensure that we provide appropriate support to enable you to participate in an event or support us in some other way.

We will only collect sensitive personal data with the supporters consent, and clear notices will be provided on applications for events and other relevant forms and communications, so you know what information we need and why we need it.

Marketing Communications

Where you give us your consent, we will also use your personal data in order to send you marketing and fundraising communications in connection with the following marketing and fundraising activities and services:

Supporter Magazines and updates – including our newsletters, magazines and other publications informing you about our work Appeals and fundraising activities – including requests for donations, information about how you can leave us a gift in your will, how you can raise money on our behalf or attend or take part in a fundraising event, our annual raffle and calendar, communications relating to our raffles, and updates on the impact that your fundraising activities have had on our work Volunteering – information about how you can help support our work by giving up your time or using your influence to progress our aims, along with updates on the impact of your work Rehoming and adopting or fostering services – information about how you can access or take part in these services (both directly and indirectly through the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home), and communications and updates about the animal adoption, rehoming and fostering sector and the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home news around this topic

Raffle Tickets

Information from raffle ticket stubs is only used to contact the winners and is destroyed as soon as the raffle has been held.

How We Will Communicate With You

Where you have given us your consent to contact you we may do so over a variety of mediums:

  • By Text
  • By Telephone
  • By Electronic Mail; either through our dedicated secure e-mail or through Constant Contact, a third party software application.
  • By letter; direct from the Home or through a third party mailing company, Corporate Mailing Solutions (CMS)

Constant Contact

We use Constant Contact to store your name and e-mail address. No other data is shared with, or stored on Constant Contact. You can opt out of receiving e-mails by using the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any e-mail. Please visit Constant Contacts own privacy statement for further information https://www.constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement

Corporate Mailing Solutions (CMS)

If we are to contact you by letter through the mail your name and address will be shared with CMS who print and post our communications to you. CMS will only communicate with you after being instructed to do so by the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home. CMS will securely destroy your details once the mailing is complete. CMS will never share your details. We will only contact you this way two-three times per year. Please visit CMS’ website for further information http://cmsuk.com/

Social Media

Whilst we try our best to only link to reputable social media platforms we cannot be held responsible for the privacy of information collected by sites not managed by us, nor can we accept responsibility or liability for them. For this reason you should consult the privacy policy on any external platform you link to before you submit any personal information to those sites.

Where Do We Store Your Data?

Only authorised users of the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home can access your data. Where you have given consent we will store your data:

  • On paper in secure, lockable cabinets within lockable rooms
  • Electronically stored on our secure servers. Only accessible by authorised staff, on a secure computer with appropriate credentials

The Home will not keep personal data processed for any purpose, longer than is necessary for that purpose or purposes. Please refer to our Retention Policy for details on how long we keep your data.

Surrendering An Animal To Us

When you surrender your animal to us for rehoming we will need to collect your name, address and telephone number. We may use your data to obtain full veterinary history for your animal from your registered veterinary clinic.

Rehoming An Animal From Us

When you apply to rehome an animal from us, we’ll need to share personal information such as your name, address and telephone number, to enable a home visit by one of our volunteer home-visitors. We try to make sure that all animals are microchipped when they’re rehomed from us; this is a legal requirement in relation to dogs. We will share your personal information with a microchip company in case your animal goes missing. Depending on which microchip is used, this will be with one of the following providers:

If you rehome a cat or dog from us, we will also share your personal information with the RSPCA (Registered Charity Number 219099) and MORE TH>N, our pet insurance provider, so they can offer you six weeks free pet insurance. If you take this up, MORE TH>N will contact you with an offer to extend the cover after the free period ends. https://www.morethan.com/pet-insurance/

Please carefully read the declaration on the bottom of the adoption form. Where you consent to receiving communications from us, this also provides joint consent for the RSPCA (Registered Charity Number 219099) to contact you. You can opt out from this on the form.

Rabbit Bonding Consent Form

If you are in the process of adopting a rabbit from us and choose to use our bonding service, we will collect your name, address, contact numbers, veterinary practice, veterinary history and vaccination status of your rabbit.

Signing up for Home for Life

We will also collect and process your data, and that of a nominated family member or representative when you sign up to our Home for Life scheme. This is so that we can send you a Home for Life registration pack and administer the scheme. https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/care/homeforlife

Volunteers and Job Applicants

If you apply for a job with us or volunteer, we’ll hold the personal information you provide to process your application.

We may undertake monitoring of recruitment statistics, in line with employment and data protection law. If we need to disclose information to a third party, we will not do so without asking you beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law. For example if we need to take up a reference, or obtain “disclosure” from the Disclosure & Barring Service.

If you apply to work with us we’ll only hold your data for the purposes of that application. We won’t hold your personal information for any longer than is necessary for the purposes of that application.


If you have an accident at the centre, or at any of our charity shops, we will need to collect your name, address and telephone number as part of our accident recording and reporting procedure.

We may share your details with the emergency services, if they are called. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) government department if your accident falls under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). Please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/privacy.htm for details on how HSE handles your data.


In addition to all information contained in this Privacy Policy, please refer to our separate policy for volunteers.


In addition to all information contained in this Privacy Policy, please refer to our separate policy for employees.


In addition to all information contained in this Privacy Policy, please refer to our separate policy for trustees.


In addition to all information contained in this Privacy Policy, please refer to our separate policy for apprentices.

Telling us when things change

You can help us keep our records up to date by telling us when your contact details and other personal information changes. You can also ask us to stop contacting you altogether.

Please contact reception and they will make the changes for you:

call them on 0300 111 4321
email [email protected]
write to Data Protection, RSPCA Danaher Animal Home, Thorley farm, Hedingham Road, Wethersfield, Essex, CM7 4EQ

If you tell us that you no longer want to receive further contact from us and you are on our supporter database, it may take a short while before our communications stop altogether as selection of supporter information for some of our appeals is done a few weeks in advance of mailing. If you request to receive no further contact from us we will securely dispose of your data and will not contact you any further.

Access to your information and correction

You have the right to see information contained in personal data we hold about you. If you would like to receive some or all of your personal information (called a Subject Access Request), please complete and send to:

email: [email protected] with the subject line ‘Subject Access Request’
write to: Subject Access Request, Data Protection, RSPCA Danaher Animal Home, Thorley farm, Hedingham Road, Wethersfield, Essex, CM7 4EQ

We want to make sure that your personal information is accurate and up to date. You may ask us to correct or remove any information you think is inaccurate by contacting us at the address provided above.

Please note the Freedom of Information Act (the ‘FoIA’) applies to public authorities and certain organisations that are listed in Schedule 1 of the FoIA. The RSPCA Danaher Animal Home is not listed and thus has no formal obligations under the FoIA. However, we support transparency and will supply information where possible.

Right to Erasure

The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten’. The broad principle underpinning this right is to enable you to request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. Please refer to our Right to Erasure Policy for full details.

Visitors to our website

When someone visits www.danaheranimalhome.org.uk we collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns.

We do this to find out things such as how our website was accessed, and the number of visitors to the various parts of the site. This information is only processed in a way which does not identify anyone. We do not make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website. If we do want to collect personal information through our website, we will make this clear and explain what we will do with it.

We also use click through and open mail tracking when sending emails so that we can check whether the recipient has opened an email, unsubscribed, or clicked on a link to our website. This enables us to assess the effectiveness of our email campaigns.

Information security

We ensure your data is kept secure by using up-to-date security features and procedures and we respect the privacy of all visitors to our website.

Our website may also include links to other websites, not owned, associated or managed by the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home. Whilst we try our best to only link to reputable websites we cannot be held responsible for the privacy of information collected by sites not managed by us, nor can we accept responsibility or liability for them. For this reason you should consult the privacy policy on any external website you link to before you submit any personal information to those websites.


We take daily, monthly and yearly backups of our database and servers. Backup archives are stored using strong encryption with a third party software.

That way, even if a backup archive with personal data awaiting deletion were stolen, the thieves couldn’t use it. Please refer to the Right to Erasure Policy for full details.

2. Retention Policy

It is the RSPCA Danaher Animal Homes (“the Home”) policy to maintain complete, accurate and high quality records. Records are to be retained for the period of their immediate use, unless longer retention is required for historical reference, contractual, legal or regulatory requirements or for other purposes as may be set forth below. Records that are no longer required, or have satisfied their required periods of retention, shall be destroyed. No officer, director, employee, contractor or volunteer of the Home shall knowingly destroy a document with the intent to obstruct or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any government department or agency or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case. This policy covers all records and documents of the Home. The Home reserves the right to amend, alter and terminate this policy at any time.

Responsibility for Administration

The board of directors (the Board) shall be responsible for administering this policy.

Statement of Policy

It is the policy of this organisation:

  • To comply with applicable legal and regulatory duties to retain documents.
  • To possess all documents needed for our normal business purposes, including administration of our ongoing business relationships.

Therefore, the Home directs and expect all officers, directors, employees, contractors and volunteers to follow the rules and procedures set forth herein. Please be aware that “documents” includes not only documents in paper form, but email messages and all other forms of electronically stored information. Also be aware that the rules and procedures apply to all computers and other electronic devices provided to you by the organization for use in the business of the organization, regardless of whether those computers or devices are used on the organisation’s premises or elsewhere.

Rules and Procedures

From time to time, the Board may issue a “legal hold,” suspending the destruction of any records due to pending, threatened, or otherwise reasonably foreseeable litigation, audits, government investigations, or similar proceedings. If and when you are informed of this by the CEO, do not discard any documents relevant to the subject matter of the lawsuit, investigation or proceeding.

You will be informed of the specific types of documents that are relevant and must be retained for these purposes by the Board. Until that point in time, do not discard any document that may be relevant without the written approval of the Board. If in doubt, save the document.

In all other circumstances, you must retain the documents listed in the attached appendix called “Appendix Data Retention Schedule”, for the periods of time set forth on that schedule. The schedule reflects our legal obligations for document retention. Please note that the information listed in the schedule below is intended as a guideline and may not contain all the records the Home may be required to keep in the future. Questions regarding the retention of documents not listed in this schedule should be directed to the Board.

Please note that failure to follow this policy can result in possible civil and criminal sanctions against the Home and its officers, directors and employees, and possible disciplinary action against responsible individuals, up to and including termination of employment.

Destruction of Data

Physical data that has been held for the mandated retention period will be destroyed by incineration or cross shredding.

Electronic data will be permanently deleted in its entirety.

Where individuals opt out from receiving communications:
Physical data will be incinerated or cross shredded and electronic data will be permanently deleted in its entirety. There are occasions where the Home will need to retain certain records after you opt out, such as Gift Aid status. This data will be destroyed after the mandated retention period. Please refer to the attached appendix for further details on what data we keep and how long you can expect it to be kept for.


We take daily, monthly and yearly backups of our database and servers. Backup archives are stored using strong encryption using a third party software NAME. That way, even if a backup archive with personal data awaiting deletion were stolen, the thieves couldn’t use it. Some of your data may remain in our backups for a period of time. Please refer to the Right to Erasure Policy for full details.

3. Right to Erasure

The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten’. The broad principle underpinning this right is to enable you to request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing.

When does the right to erasure apply?

The right to erasure does not provide an absolute ‘right to be forgotten’. You have a right to have personal data erased and to prevent processing in specific circumstances:

  • Where the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected/processed.
  • When you individual withdraw consent.
  • When you object to the processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing.
  • The personal data was unlawfully processed (i.e. otherwise in breach of the GDPR).
  • The personal data has to be erased in order to comply with a legal obligation.
  • The personal data is processed in relation to the offer of information society services to a child.

Under the DPA, the right to erasure is limited to processing that causes unwarranted and substantial damage or distress. Under the GDPR, this threshold is not present. However, if the processing does cause damage or distress, this is likely to make the case for erasure stronger.

There are some specific circumstances where the right to erasure does not apply and you we may refuse to deal with a request.

We may refuse to comply with a request for erasure where the personal data is processed for the following reasons:

  • to exercise the right of freedom of expression and information;
  • to comply with a legal obligation or for the performance of a public interest task or exercise of official authority;
  • for public health purposes in the public interest;
  • archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific research, historical research or statistical purposes; or the exercise or defence of legal claims.


When you request the erasure of your personal data it may not be possible to immediately remove it all:

Your personal data may reside in backup archives that must be retained for a longer period of time – either because it is impractical to isolate individual personal data within the archive, or because we are required to retain data longer for contractual, legal or compliance reasons. You can be assured that your personal data will not be restored back to production systems (except in certain rare instances, e.g., the need to recover from a natural disaster or serious security breach). In such cases, your personal data may be restored from backups, but we will take the necessary steps to honour the initial request and erase the primary instance of the data again. Backup archives containing personal data will be protected with strong encryption, so that even if criminals were able to steal the archive, its contents would remain useless to them. Retention rules have been put in place so that personal data in backup archives is retained for as short a time as necessary before being automatically deleted. Records of all data subject requests regarding your personal data will be retained, as will audit logs that record all activities on backup archives containing personal data. This means that you can be confident that your personal data has been backed up in accordance with GDPR principles of security by design and by default, as well as data minimisation, and that your rights, including the right to be forgotten, have been honoured.

If you wish to exercise your right to erasure please contact us;

By telephone 0300 111 4321
By letter marked PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL, to: Data Protection, RSPCA Danaher Animal Home, Thorley Farm, Hedingham Road, Wethersfield, Essex, CM7 4EQ
By email to [email protected] with the subject heading Data Protection.

4. Cookies

Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. Cookies may tailor what pops up on your screen according to what you’ve viewed on a site before.

We use cookies to enhance the experience of the user as well as to record site usage data anonymously. We use cookies for the following purposes:

  • To enable certain functions of the Service
  • We use both session and persistent cookies on the Service and we use different types of cookies to run the Service

For more information about Cookies, and how to turn them off please visit the ICO website: https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/online/cookies

5. Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking

Our Company is committed to driving out acts of modern day slavery and human trafficking within its business and from within its supply chains, including sub-contractors, and partners. The Company acknowledges the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and will ensure transparency within the organisation and with suppliers of goods and services to the organisation. These as well as the suppliers of services make up the Company’s supply chain.

The Company’s supplier approval process will include a review of the controls undertaken by the supplier regarding slavery and human trafficking. Imported goods from sources from outside the UK and EU are potentially more at risk for slavery/human trafficking issues. The level of management control required for these sources will be continually monitored.

The Company will not support or deal with any business knowingly involved in slavery or human trafficking.

The Company Directors and senior management shall take responsibility for implementing this policy statement and its objectives and shall provide adequate resources to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place within the organisation and within its supply chains.

6. Complaints Procedure

The RSPCA Danaher Animal Home (“the Home”) is committed to providing a high standard of service to members of the public and animals at all times.

We welcome feedback as this helps us to develop as a charity, giving us the chance to monitor and improve our services. We set ourselves a high standard of customer care and if this is not met, we want to hear about it.

Feedback helps the Home identify and address the causes of complaints, identify training opportunities and introduce improvements to customer service where needed.

The best way to submit a complaint to us is in writing to:

  • RSPCA Danaher Animal Home, Thorley Farm, Hedingham Road, Wethersfield, Essex, CM7 4EQ
  • Complaints can be made via e-mail to: [email protected]
  • Complaints will be investigated fully and fairly by the appropriate manager, respecting your right to confidentiality.
  • An acknowledgement to a written complaint will be given within 5 working days of the day we receive it.
  • Following investigation, a full reply to the complaint will be sent within a further 28 working days after acknowledgement. If this will not be possible, you will be advised of the reason why and the date by which you will receive a full reply.

The RSPCA Danaher Animal Home is affiliated to the RSPCA but is an independent charity in its own right.

We cannot speak on behalf of the National Society. Should you have a complaint regarding a service provided by the National Society please visit: www.rspca.org.uk for further guidance.

7. Safe Guarding

1. Legal context

As Trustees of a charity which may work with vulnerable groups and children, we have a duty of care to the Home to take necessary steps to safeguard and be responsible for such children and vulnerable adults. The Charity Commission has an important regulatory role in ensuring that all trustees comply with their legal duties and responsibilities. Through this Policy, we explain how we check that our trustees, staff (including contractors) and volunteers are legally able to act in positions involving vulnerable beneficiaries. We also set out a process to ensure that the risk to our beneficiaries (e.g. recipients of subsidised veterinary treatments) and service users (e.g. volunteers, customers) is properly managed, with a view to protecting Home assets/reputation.

2. RSPCA Safeguarding Policy

The RSPCA umbrella charity (charity no.219099) is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults engaged in the breadth of its activities. The key objectives of the Safeguarding Policy are:

  • To protect and promote the reputation of the RSPCA and public trust and confidence in it;
  • To ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of both good practice and the law in relation to interactions with children or adults at risk;
  • To ensure that the RSPCA provides a clear procedure for reporting any suspected risk of harm to children or adults at risk.

The Home fully endorses and abides by the RSPCA Safeguarding Policy. It is committed to supporting the right of adults and children at risk to be protected from abuse and to making sure our trustees, staff and volunteers work together to prevent and minimise abuse. Please see document titled RSPCA Safeguarding policy for full details – note not all sections will apply to the Home.

3. Appointing new Trustees

Only if trustees have close contact with vulnerable beneficiaries that falls within the scope of ‘regulated activity’ will they be eligible to obtain an enhanced DBS and barred list check. In serving as a Home Trustee, there is very limited scope for ‘regulated activity’ to take place. The current vetting procedure is to request new Trustees to complete a self-certification form (Declaration of willingness to act) in which they confirm that they are not disqualified and/or barred from acting as a trustee of the charity under the provisions of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. Any other relevant volunteering activity for the Home proposed to be undertaken by a trustee (e.g. supervising children or vulnerable persons in charity shops) will be considered separately, and a risk assessment/appropriate checks carried out.

4. Prevention and Confidentiality

All staff and volunteers will be requested to read this document and the RSPCA Safeguarding Policy.

All Home staff and volunteers will have DBS checks and have two references before they have regular, direct contact with children or vulnerable adults.

Where abuse to a vulnerable person is alleged, suspected, reported, or concerns are raised, the reporting procedure below must be followed. The confidentiality of the vulnerable person will be respected, and their consent obtained to share information, wherever possible. The person should be made aware that the Branch cannot ignore issues around abuse and that steps will be taken to deal with them in as sensitive a manner as possible. The welfare of the individual is paramount.

5. Incident Reporting

If you think abuse has or may have occurred, act immediately. It is the responsibility of the person first becoming aware of a situation to deal with the immediate needs of the person. This may mean taking reasonable steps to ensure he/she is in no immediate danger and seeking medical treatment if required as a matter of urgency.

  • Do NOT discuss the allegation of abuse with the alleged perpetrator.
  • Do NOT disturb or destroy anything that could be used in evidence.

Refer the matter to the Home Safeguarding Officer. The matter will be dealt with by the Home in accordance with appendix 4 Referral procedure. We will involve the Police and/or other agencies where necessary.


The home does not accept volunteers in at the rehoming centre or in the charity shops who are under 18 years of age. As a general rule vulnerable adults are also not permitted to volunteer but special dispensation may be granted on a case by case basis but only after extensive discussion with primary care givers and relevant support societies. No vulnerable adult will be permitted to attend the home without supervision provided by the primary care giver or relevant support societies.

Key Contacts

Home Safeguarding Officer – Deborah Satchell 07990 622996
Main Society Safeguarding Officer - Chris Simpson, 07825 386572
Emergency Medical Service - 999
Police – Non-emergency 101 Emergency 999
For advice or concerns about children: NSPCC 0808 800 5000
Local Authority Adult Services –
Braintree District Council: 01376 552525 Cherie Root (Acting Corporate Director), Tracey Parry (Community Safety Manager)
Local Authority Children Services -
Braintree District Council: 01376 552525 Cherie Root (Acting Corporate Director), Tracey Parry (Community Safety Manager)
For more information:
Appendix 1: Code of good practice
Appendix 2: Legal Framework
Appendix 3: Involving young volunteers
Appendix 4: Referral procedure

Witnessing any instances of harm or abuse can be traumatic. In such circumstances, dedicated support is available via the Home’s Employee Assistance Programme provided with Health Assured. See documents titled Complete EAP, HA EAP Leaflet and MHA App.

8. Euthanasia Policy

RSPCA Danaher Animal Home Euthanasia Policy v.2 January 2021

In the event that an animal under the care of RSPCA Danaher Animal Home has to be euthanised, this document sets out the policies and procedures to be followed by the RSPCA Danaher veterinary team, staff and volunteers. At its heart is the premise that all decisions must be made by consultation and with a commitment to providing the highest possible standards of professional care and consideration for the animal concerned.

The RSPCA policies on animal welfare state that 'The RSPCA is working for a world in which no rehomeable animal is put to sleep. Currently the RSPCA accepts, with great reluctance that in certain circumstances euthanasia may be necessary, when the animal is not rehomable, because it is sick or injured or for behavioural reasons or occasionally because there are no appropriate homes available and the animal would therefore endure long-term suffering through deprivation of basic needs.'

In all cases, this should be a decision based on the animal's welfare, given realistic constraints.

The policy goes on to say that 'The RSPCA will continue to strive for a future where the euthanasia of fit and healthy animals will be unnecessary. Euthanasia is forced on the RSPCA by irresponsible ownership, overproduction, and inadequate enforcement of legislation. This may be because of indiscriminate breeding for profit, current trends in the marketing of animals, and problems caused by the effects of social circumstances including owners failing to neuter their pets.'

The Society's purpose is not to maintain 'sanctuaries' i.e. the provision of homes for life, but to attempt to find suitable new homes for all healthy animals that come into the care of the RSPCA.

Legal aspects on decision-making

1) For animals with an identifiable owner, the decision needs to be made by:

  • the owner. Consent is required, ideally obtained in writing and signed, or
  • a Court decision (e.g. under Animal Welfare Act s18(3)), or
  • the police, or
  • in emergency situations where the owner cannot be contacted, a veterinary surgeon (ideally with agreement of a second veterinary opinion and/or the police).

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have a specimen consent form of request for euthanasia, which may be useful for obtaining written consent when euthanasing an owned animal.

2) For companion, equine, exotic and farm animals without an identified owner within the first seven days of entry (e.g. for an animal suffering from a health issue), the decision needs to be made by:

  • a veterinary surgeon (ideally with agreement of a second veterinary opinion and/or a police constable), or
  • the Court, or
  • the police, or
  • a specific governmental agency in particular circumstances.

3) For companion, equine, exotic and farm animals without an identified owner after the first seven days of entry, the decision needs to be made by:

  • the veterinary surgeon in consultation with the relevant person responsible for the care and management of the animal.

The RSPCA should aim to have good relationships with the vets who operate with them and encourage the vet to take a "shelter management" approach to the decisions that have to be made. No vet is obliged to kill a healthy animal (unless required to do so under statutory powers as part of their terms of employment) but their primary obligation is to relieve the suffering of an animal.

A record of the euthanasia and the person performing it should be kept with the animals records.

Requesting euthanasia

The request to the veterinary surgeon for euthanasia needs to ultimately belong to the person responsible for animal's care and management. Line managers have a duty of care towards their staff/volunteers and supportive handling can help to mitigate the negative impact of such decisions on staff/volunteer morale. The form titled EUTHANASIA FORM detailed below MUST be completed prior to any animal being euthanised. Euthanasia decisions for animals in RSPCA Danaher’s care must always be based on a medical assessment by a vet and an assessment of the animal's suitability for rehoming in concert with any relevant Branch and Inspectorate as necessary. This assessment must take into account the following:

  • Is the animal fit to be rehomed, medically and emotionally?
  • If the condition is treatable and the prognosis is good how long will the animal need to be in our care before it is fit and suitable to be rehomed?
  • Can the cost of treatment be justified against what could be achieved spending the same amount on proactive animal work (e.g. welfare neutering) or on providing veterinary treatment for a greater number of animals prior to rehoming?
  • How long will it be before the animal is suitable to rehome?
  • What impact is keeping an animal for an extended period of time expected to have on their welfare?
  • Does the animal have serious behavioural issues and can these be corrected within a reasonable period of time?
  • Are there sufficient adopters available?
  • Are other local, trustworthy charities willing to take the animal on for rehabilitation or rehoming?
  • Are we likely to find an adopter willing to take on an animal with specific ongoing issues?
  • Would there be any welfare compromises in rehoming, or (for feral cats) release?
  • Does rehoming or releasing this animal pose significant health risks to humans or other animals?
  • Is the animal aggressive to other animals?
  • Is the animal aggressive to humans?
  • Is it legal to rehome the animal (in particular under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991)?
  • Are there any special conditions attached to the rehoming (e.g. relating to a veterinary/behaviourist report or pursuant to a Court Order under the Dogs Act 1871)?

Decisions such as these are always based on a full veterinary and behavioural evaluation and consultation with relevant team members. Animals are only euthanised when our vets and managers assess this is the right action to protect an animal from suffering, or to protect people or other animals from danger. Throughout the process we are committed to provide the highest standard of care, empathy and compassion for the animal concerned. Once an animal is assessed as unsuitable for rehoming, he or she should be euthanised as soon as possible for their welfare and for the safety and welfare of the staff/volunteers who care for it. Early assessments and prognoses are therefore vital. Where lengthy treatment, rehabilitation and/or long term confinement are deemed necessary but the outcome is uncertain, immediate euthanasia may be the best welfare decision for that individual animal.

Records should be kept, including, where relevant:

  • owner's consent,
  • efforts to locate a stray animal's owner (include on the Stray animal intake form),
  • the reason and circumstances supporting the decision
  • those involved in the decision-making and euthanasia recorded by completing the Euthanasia Form contained within this policy