CAMPAIGNERS from Scotland’s leading animal charity are calling on lottery chiefs to reconsider their refusal of funding.
But in a recent survey, 74 per cent of the Scottish public argued that the animal welfare group should be given financial support.
And protestors dressed in animal costumes chained themselves to railings in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens demanding to be eligible for funding.
Mike Flynn, chief superintendent at the charity’s Edinburgh headquarters, said that the decision left the charity totally reliant on money from supporters.
He said: “It really is the generosity of the Scottish public that keeps us going.
“The National Lottery said they will only give funding to charities that directly affect humans and obviously they don’t see an animal charity as fitting that.
“The problem we’ve got is that a lot of supporters think that we do get lottery money and might be more reluctant to dig in their pockets themselves.
“It’s important that people realise we don’t get any funding at all from the government or from the lottery and so donations are vital.”
The charity, which handled 17,500 abandoned and injured animals last year, has constantly been refused lottery cash because of the strict criteria.
Mr Flynn said: “I find it surprising that they won’t give money to an animal charity because animals are part of the social network and play an important role in society.
“Nobody lives in a street that doesn’t have an animal on it. If you can help animals it helps all of the community.”
The charity – which has a budget this year of £9.5 million – has a legal duty to protect animals and reports cases of cruelty to the police.
But Mr Flynn insists that this business is inevitably costly and they need more funding to ensure pets are guaranteed safety from abuse.
He said: “All our facilities and services have to be bought and paid for and if you are reliant on the kindness of members of the public it is no way to sustain yourself.
“Funding would mean we would have more money to provide better care for the animals we look after.
“If we got just £1 million a year from the lottery it would alleviate some of the pressure on the society. And, one million is not a huge amount of money for the lottery fund to give out.”
The money raised helps to run the chairty’s 12 animal welfare centres across the country.
Scottish SPCA inspectors save domestic, farm and wild animals from harm and danger every year, while staff in re-homing centres are responsible for treating and re-homing thousands more.
The recent survey – issued as part of Scottish Animal Week – shows that the charity receives massive public support in their request for national funding.
And Stuart Earley, Scottish SPCA chief executive, said the poll was an encouraging sign that times could change.
He said: “To have almost three-quarters of the Scottish public on our side shows how many people believe cruelty to animals is wrong and clearly confirms that Scotland’s animal welfare charity should have more support.
“The National Lottery has made over a quarter of a million grants totallting in excess of £21 billion but we don’t receive one penny because the National Lottery will only support causes which benefit humans.
“This stance leaves out vital work purely dependent on donations. Hopefully this will change in the future.”