Animal welfare

Animal welfare: ‘New legislation in Scotland will benefit thousands of rescue animals awaiting relocation,’ says SSPCA


From Thursday, authorized persons such as Scottish SPCA inspectors, police or those appointed by local authorities will have the power to rehouse animals that have not been signed by their owner without the need to obtain a civil order to relocate the animals.

Through the Animals and Wildlife (Sanctions, Protections and Powers) Act 2020 (Scotland), a new section has been inserted into the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

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The Scottish Animal Welfare Charity predicts that the reforms could reduce the number of days spent in a kennel for these animals by more than 90%.

LR Paloma the horse before and after placement. Paloma was seized by a Scottish SPCA inspector because she was in deplorable condition. Her feet were overgrown and covered with sores because her body was riddled with lice. Worse yet, she was pregnant in this condition. Under the care of the Scottish SPCA, Paloma gave birth to baby Beau. They were both healthy and living the best possible life in their barn and field, but had to wait over 500 days to be relocated because they were part of a trial. Fortunately, they have both been relocated and are now happily settled with their new owner (Photo: SSPCA).

Speaking of the benefits of having this new legislation in place, Kirsteen Campbell, Scottish SPCA CEO, said: Low welfare animal breeders and traders and this legislation will allow us to move these animals quickly.

“Not only will this benefit their well-being, but it will free up critical space in our rescue centers for more animals in need.”

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Previously, animals that were seized for welfare reasons without their owners signing them had to be kept in a rescue center until the end of any legal proceedings, such as a civil or criminal case.

Darcy the dog. Darcy was taken from a puppy farm with 44 other dogs. She was pregnant and one of her puppies did not survive. The case took almost two years to close, leaving the Scottish SPCA with a bill of over £ 440,000 to care for all the dogs. It was worth it in the end for Darcy. She is now in a wonderful home and is a therapist.

Keeping animals in such circumstances is known as “temporary refuge”.

Now the Scottish SPCA and other organizations will be able to rehouse animals caught in such circumstances after just three weeks.

In 2020, temporary shelter dogs lived an average of 203 days in a kennel. On average, the Scottish SPCA provides care and accommodation for around 1,500 temporary shelter animals each year, at an estimated cost of over £ 500,000 per year.

Ms Campbell said: “Rescue animals have come out of dire situations that should be a turning point in their lives.

“Unfortunately, in situations where an owner refuses to entrust us with abused or neglected animals, the foreclosure can mark the start of a long and complex process that takes months, if not years, of legal wrangling. and dedicated animal care provide first-class rehabilitation and support, a rescue center is no substitute for a loving home, and animals can deteriorate if kept in such conditions for an extended period of time.

Under the new legislation, an agency that moves animals and then loses legal action would be liable for compensation to the owner.

Ms Campbell said Scotland is the first place in the UK to introduce these reforms.

She added: “I am especially proud of the role the Scottish SPCA has played in driving this change by providing evidence, engaging with MSPs and highlighting the emotional cost of the previous temporary shelter situation for them. people and animals.

“We are the first place in the UK to introduce such reforms and it will transform the lives of tens of thousands of rescue animals for years to come.”

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