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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

No let up for animal rehoming as data shows it is as busy as ever

This news post is over 1 year old

Pandemic led to people taking on, and giving up, domestic pets

Scotland’s leading animal welfare charity responded to almost 78,000 reports of animals in need in 2020 – an average of over 210 per day.

In spite of the pandemic, the Scottish SPCA largely operated as normal, it's annual report states with the charity continuing to seize animals which had been mistreated as well as rescue and rehabilitate wildlife.

The charity took over 136,000 calls to its free animal helpline, which led to 77,960 jobs for inspectors and animal rescue officers. Throughout the year, 34 people were convicted of animal welfare offences after they were reported by Scottish SPCA inspectors. The charity’s Special Investigations Unit spearheaded the UK-wide group to tackle the puppy trade, rescuing 150 dogs from the trade in Scotland.

In March 2020, the Scottish SPCA suspended rehoming due to the pandemic. Over 260 animals which were ready to rehome were placed on emergency foster, freeing up critical space across the charity’s nine animal rescue and rehoming centres. Two months later, in May, its first ever online rehoming service launched and the charity succeeded in rehoming 3,758 animals by the end of the year.

Kirsteen Campbell, Scottish SPCA chief executive, said: “We are unique among animal welfare charities in the UK in that we the power to investigate cruelty and seize animals, but also a responsibility to work with pet owners experiencing hardship.

“The pandemic has put immense pressure on the Scottish SPCA but also on people and animals, and we felt it was critical we were well-placed to offer a lifeline to those who needed it.”

“I must pay tribute to my selfless colleagues working directly with animals. They always go above and beyond for animals, but since March 2020 that has been more apparent than ever. Thousands of animals have been given a second chance thanks to their dedication.”

“With recently introduced legislation from the Scottish Parliament and a commitment from the UK Government to implement the Action Plan for Animals, I am optimistic that the Scottish SPCA and wider animal welfare sector is in a fantastic position to build on.”

Throughout lockdown, the Scottish SPCA introduced new protocols to allow frontline staff to deal with urgent reports of animals in need. At its one-of-a-kind wildlife hospital in Clackmannanshire, the Scottish SPCA successfully released 3,375 wild animals back into their natural habitat after care.

A long-standing campaign to reform animal welfare law came to fruition, as Holyrood unanimously passed the Animals and Wildlife (Scotland) Act 2020. This law introduced harsher sentences for the worst animal welfare crimes and a commitment to allow rescue organisations to rehome animals more easily. The Scottish SPCA had led this campaign for a number of years, with an estimated cost of £1.7m in caring for such animals since January 2020.

The charity also moved its education programme online, creating learning resources for parents, teachers and guardians, and distributing 1,000 packs to families with no internet access.



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