The Scottish SPCA has been dubbed a “disgrace” for giving its boss a huge pay rise while shutting down a rescue centre to cut costs.
Chief executive Stuart Earley was reportedly paid £216,320 last year, making him one of the UK’s best-paid charity bosses.
The Scottish SPCA has undergone a considerable transformationHarry Haworth
The sum is considerably higher than Britain’s other top animal charities, some of which are much larger than the SSPCA.
Charity accounts reveal the former aquarium boss has seen his wages rise by more than a third in three years.
Animal organisations and campaigners have condemned the pay increase, saying donations should be used to “help animals, not fund a luxury lifestyle for executives”.
John Robins, of charity Animal Concern, said: “It concerns me that if the public think all animal charity CEOs are being paid massive salaries, they will stop donating. People should get a fair living wage for doing their job, but when you work for an animal charity you should remember that your pay is coming out of the pockets of pensioners who want to help animals, not fund a luxury lifestyle for executives.”
Mr Robins, who earns £24,000 a year, added: “I could employ nine or ten good campaigners for what Stuart Earley is paid.”
Mr Earley has headed the SSPCA since 2007 and led the organisation to the Charity of the Year award in 2013.
But Shetland’s only SSPCA rescue centre was shut down by the charity last year amid reports that the £13,000-a-year running costs were too high. The charity’s chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, said the small number of animals it cared for could not justify the amount of money it took to keep it open. Instead, injured and abandoned animals must now be taken more than 300 miles to a new £3.5 million wildlife rescue unit in Fishcross, Clackmannanshire.
Harry Haworth, chairman of the SSPCA, said: “In the last eight years, the Scottish SPCA has undergone a considerable transformation and today is at least twice as effective as it was in 2007 in every meaningful area.
“Today the charity responds to 130 per cent more calls, deals with 143 per cent more incidents, rehomes 100 per cent more animals and helps twice as many animals today than we did in 2007.
“At the same time, we have increased membership from 31,000 to 51,000.”