A new report out of Brock University says workers with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals face emotional and physical risks while on the job.

The study found that situations encountered by inspectors are often dangerous and disturbing, and are performed with limited resources.

Although the OSPCA enforces provincial law, it relies on charitable donations to operate. The study says officers need better protections.

Inspectors routinely witness cases of animal abuse, as well as the abuse of women and children, and have to deal with people who are irate, intoxicated, or mentally ill.

Officers often work alone in remote areas with no cell service, meaning they have no ability to contact a supervisor or emergency services if a dangerous situation occurs.

Not having the ability to use provincial crime databases also leaves officers with little information about the people or situations they are about to approach.

The study recommends a number of changes for the OSPCA, such as purchasing two-way radios and upgrading cell phones to ensure reliable service.

It also suggests giving inspectors access to the Canadian Police Information Centre, or CPIC, to obtain information about people they are investigating, and working directly with police in the field.

The study recommends the province provides more funding to the OSPCA.

It currently only provides about one-third of the organization’s operating costs.