Scottish SPCA rehomes more than 5,000 animals in busiest year yet

Demand for the Scottish SPCA’s services is at an all-time high, figures have shown.

Demand for SSPCA services has reached an all-time high. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The charity, which is comprised of inspectors and animal rescue officers, responded to 90,000 incidents in 2018.

Across the charity’s nine rescue and rehoming centres, 5,068 animals were rehomed last year and the society helped to reunite 948 lost pets with their owners.

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The Scottish SPCA was also successful in 90 court cases last year, up from 70 in 2017, which resulted in 45 bans, including three for life, 17 community payback orders and 25 fines.

The charity also issued 664 animal welfare notices.

Kirsteen Campbell, chief executive of the Scottish SPCA, said: “Demand for our services is higher than ever.

“Including wildlife, we attended the equivalent of more than 240 animal welfare reports per day last year and this lays bare the scale of the work we do.

“Our incredibly dedicated rehoming centre teams and inspectorate work so hard to ensure animals in need get the care and support they deserve.

“Our efforts to tackle the multi-million-pound illegal puppy trade and other serious animal abuses have led to a large increase in reports of puppy farms, animal fighting and other crimes due to increased awareness among the general public.”

She added: “Campaigns such as Say No to Puppy Dealers and the Scottish Government’s Buy A Puppy Safely have helped to educate people on the trade, as evidenced by the increased reports of puppy farms we’ve taken.

“Whilst we aim to disrupt and stop these offences, we are confident we are helping to deliver systemic change through our educational work and our positive progress engaging with the Scottish Government to deliver improvements in animal welfare legislation.”

The society’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates serious animal welfare abuses, took on 529 jobs in 2018, up from 332 in 2017.

Its National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Clackmannanshire also experienced a record-breaking year.

Admissions have grown year-on-year, with 9,861 wild animals passing through the doors, including record numbers of birds (7,584) and seals (188) in 2018.

During baby birds season in spring 2018, the charity received an average of 140 calls per day relating to fledglings.