Pets seized from abusive owners can now be rehomed more quickly in Scotland as new legislation comes into effect.
Animals who are taken into protection on welfare grounds can now be rehomed after three weeks, rather than waiting for any legal proceedings to end.
But new powers coming into effect from Thursday mean that abused pets not signed over to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) can be rehomed after three weeks without requiring a court order.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “We take animal welfare extremely seriously and are determined to have the highest possible standards for all animals in Scotland.
“I am very pleased that these new powers have come into effect and have been strongly welcomed by animal welfare organisations.
“The new procedure to quickly rehome animals taken into possession to protect their welfare can now be used by authorised bodies including local authorities and the Scottish SPCA, who do so much invaluable front-line work in a wide variety of extremely difficult situations to protect animals across Scotland.
“This new procedure should significantly improve the way authorised bodies are able to intervene to protect animals at risk of suffering without those animals then having to be held for unnecessarily prolonged periods, which will be an important step forwards for animal welfare overall.”