Charity 'alarmed' at surge in animal rescues amid cost of living crisis

The SSPCA said almost three-quarters of animals they rescued last year required 'immediate veterinary treatment'.

SSPCA ‘alarmed’ at surge in animal rescues amid cost of living crisis SSPCA

The SSPCA has seen an “alarming” surge in rescues amid the cost of living crisis with owners forced to give up their pets due to their financial circumstances.

The charity said it has seen a 25% increase in arrivals to its rescue and rehoming centres across Scotland in 2023, with 4,404 of the 6,944 animals taken into the charity’s care needing urgent attention.

In many cases the animals had suffered “unintentional harm” by owners who could no longer afford veterinary treatment.

The charity said it was “disturbed” by the number of special investigations they were forced to launch including 113 investigations into low welfare puppy dealers.

They added that around 43% of people who contacted the charity in 2023 gave financial circumstances as a reason.

This was the case with a “well-loved” six-year-old dog called Bentley who arrived at their Aberdeen Animal Rescue and Rehoming centre.

The owners made the “heart-breaking” decision to give him up as they could no longer afford to pay for veterinary treatment for his skin problems and allergies.

The charity added in 2023 they rehomed 3,881 animals to loving new homes, fostered 459 animals, and treated 5,163 wild animals.

Scottish SPCA said that their Pet Aid Service worked with 56 food banks last year, providing supplies of pet food essentials to help keep pets and families together.

The service helped more than 400 people each month across the year.

Following the success of the project, the charity is piloting a sister Pet Aid service offering community veterinary support.

The project, which is being piloted in the Glasgow area, sees a community veterinary nurse team visit owners and their pets at home to carry out basic healthcare assessments.

Animals in need of more complex veterinary treatment can then be referred to our Glasgow centre.

Scottish SPCA chief executive Kirsteen Campbell said that the latest figures highlight that animals across Scotland have never need the charity more.

“It is heart-breaking to see so many animals come to us because their owners simply can no longer cope or make ends meet. The animal welfare crisis and cost of living crisis go hand in hand and it’s also costing us more than ever as a charity to do what we do.

“We’re determined to be here for animals in the ways they need us today and in the future. We’ve introduced new services and changed the way we work in communities across Scotland so that we can help as many people and animals as possible to stay together.

“But thousands more animals are still coming through our doors every year and we want to be there for all of them.

“We can only do that with help and it costs us more to help the animals who need us than the money we are raising, so every penny counts.”

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