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.
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%.
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.
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 Â£ 500,000 per year.
Ms Campbell said: âRescue animals have come out of dire situations that should be a turning point in their lives.
âUnfortunately, 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: âI 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.”