RSPCA: Have You Got What it Takes? - Monday September 10 - Friday September 14

rspca: have you got what it takes? (6/13)

Continuing on Five this week is the 13-part documentary series that follows the stories of six trainee RSPCA inspectors as they attempt to make it onto the front line of animal welfare. During a punishing seven-month course, the hopefuls are tested across a diverse range of activites and learn some surprising lessons along the way.

All 19 trainees undertaking the course dream of working with animals, but not all are prepared for what lies ahead –abseiling, power boating, working undercover and quelling the wrath of dangerous pythons are just a few of the pitfalls that they must overcome if they are to complete their course.

The rookies, including an ex-prison officer, an estate agent and a hairdresser, will come face to face with some shocking and inhumane cases of animal neglect, but will need to keep their emotions in check when dealing with aggressive and irresponsible pet owners. As the course progresses, they will learn every element of how to work with animals and their owners.

Not everyone will make it through the training, and those that do must be ready to move anywhere in the country. Will they have what it takes to make it in the RSPCA?

In today’s programme, the students visit Plas Y Brenin in Wales to learn how to abseil down cliffs to rescue animals. Helen and Melissa must face their fears at the top of a huge 60-foot precipice. Meanwhile, Becky is at the Appleby Horse Festival in Cumbria, looking for any safety breaches or inhumane treatment. And in Coventry, Pam and Inspector Helen Smith answer a call about an unwanted poodle terrier.

On Tuesday, the trainees are at the RSPCA woodlands site in Sussex to learn about animal traps and the law. The staff in charge of training have laid a series of legal and illegal traps for the students to identify. Elsewhere, Helen Archer is in South London with Inspector Fiona Horton to investigate a complaint about a dog that has been left outside without shelter.

In Wednesday’s instalment, Helen and Animal Collection Officer Nicola are called to rescue a wood pigeon with a damaged wing. Melissa is on a case involving two limping horses, whose owner is resentful of the RSPCA’s involvement. And Ian is part of a team of inspectors overseeing animal welfare at the summer solstice at Stonehenge.

In Thursday’s show, the trainee inspectors go back to the classroom to learn about dealing with the public. A scenario has been created where a dog is left in a car without ventilation. Andrea and Ian struggle with the task, but Nicola excels herself. Meanwhile, Melissa investigates a complaint that a woman has hit her dog; and Becky and Inspector Cathy visit a sanctuary for abused horses in Blackburn.

The final edition of the week, on Friday, visits the RSPCA headquarters in Horsham, where the trainees have been set the task of investigating a series of mysterious poisonings. Four scenarios have been arranged to help them identify the symptoms of various poisons. Meanwhile, in Cheltenham, Melissa and Inspector Chris investigate a report that animals have been abandoned in a property.

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