AN RSPCA inspector from the West Midlands has been celebrated by the charity as part of International Women's Day. 

Herchy Boal, a seasoned RSPCA officer with over 20 years of service, is one of the organisation's leading frontline experts on the puppy trade and advises TV and film crews on how to care for animals on-set.

She said: "There have of course been big career highlights, from winning medals for large-scale puppy farming investigations to working on TV programmes and being recognised in the street, but for me, it’s the everyday differences to the lives of animals and people that we make each shift that will always be the highlight."

She recently assisted Coronation Street with an important storyline on the puppy trade. She is also well-known for starring in Channel 5’s Dog Rescuers - a documentary series.

Today, as the charity marks its 200th anniversary on International Women’s Day, the organisation is looking back on the inspiring women who have played pivotal roles in the animal advocacy movement.

The royal patronage of Queen Victoria, a renowned lover of cats, was granted to the 'SPCA' in 1837, shortly before she became monarch.



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In 1840 she granted the charity its Royal Warrant.

In addition to her patronage, she actively engaged with the charity, sending letters of concern for animals' welfare.

Also instrumental to the RSPCA's evolution was Angela Burdett-Coutts.

In 1839 and 1870, she became vice patron, and later, she co-founded the RSPCA's Ladies Committee.

The group promoted the welfare of animals, focusing on encouraging children and young people to sign up to a group known as the 'Band of Mercy' to educate them.

Burdett-Coutts firmly believed in education's role in bettering animal lives, a belief the RSPCA upholds today.

In 1914, Ada Cole set an important precedent by conducting an undercover investigation into the live horse trade in Belgium.

This sparked the charity’s Special Operations Unit, which initially concentrated on live export investigations.

Now, over 100 years later, the UK will ban live exports, a testament to the tireless efforts of campaigners like Cole.

By 1952, the RSPCA had appointed its first two female patrol officers, Ninette Gold and Pat Jones, setting the stage for the majority female inspectorate today, who comprise 64 per cent of the team.