On any given day, the control room within the SPCA Inspectorate Department can receive anywhere between 150 – 280 calls; 60 – 160 emails and up to 15 emergency cases a day; and over and above this, these men and women service an area of more than 3,200 square kilometres.
This area includes the Cape Town Metropole of 2,400 square kilometres and the Stellenbosch municipal area of more than 800 square kilometres stretching into the Cape Winelands.
Senior Control Officer Roshin Pillay is one of these dedicated staff members.
Officer Pillay, who is also a qualified paramedic, has been with the Cape of Good Hope SPCA since 2014.
What motivated you to work for the SPCA, more specifically in control?
I come from a control environment, from my previous job. I enjoy it because even though it may be the same job, it’s just a different kind of patient. The animals we assist don’t argue and fight, they just need someone to help. This is the next best thing to servicing people.
What is a typical day like in your role?
A lot of thinking ahead, planning, and shuffling around things already planned due to unforeseen circumstances or emergencies, whether natural or not – for instance, fires. Every day is not the same and you can hardly pre-plan because you never know what is going to happen on the day.
In what way is your role rewarding?
When, at the end of the day, we were able to assist every person who has reached out to us for help.
In what ways is your role challenging?
In many ways, people not understanding the processes that need to be followed in terms of the law in order to assist an animal.
The most challenging thing we’re faced with in the control room is convincing people that our team is doing absolutely everything in their power to assist out there and still being told sometimes how “useless” we are.
At times, it is a thankless job. I understand that people are just people, with emotions of their own, and that you as the control officer have to take what people say with a pinch of salt and do what you do for the animals out there.
What do you like most about working for the SPCA?
We are working towards a common goal – which is the prevention of animal cruelty.