Scottish animal welfare partnership announced to help rural pet owners

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A NEW partnership between two leading animal welfare charities has been announced as they start a joint research team with a Scottish University.

The new study will look at how to reach people living with pets in rural communities who are unable to access crucial services for their pets such as veterinary care.

The Scottish SPCA and Blue Cross are working in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh on the study which they hope will allow them to help animals and their owners.

Kirsteen Campbell, chief executive, Scottish SPCA - Animal News Scotland
(Picture credit Peter Devlin) Kirsteen Campbell, chief executive, Scottish SPCA – “We believe it has never been more important for charities to work in partnership, achieving even more together and having an even greater impact on animal welfare.”

One key area of focus will be connecting their fostering network to enable more pets across borders to benefit from both the organisations’ resources and welfare expertise.

Other areas for consideration by the partnership in future include behavioural consultation advice from the Blue Cross, which has an expert team working with dogs, cats, small animals and horses.

Scottish SPCA chief executive, Kirsteen Campbell said: “Since the coronavirus pandemic started, the Scottish SPCA has continued to do a fantastic job delivering our vital services to support animals and people in every community in Scotland who have needed us more than ever.

“And we’ve achieved this alongside influencing changes in legislation that will transform the lives of animals and people forever.

“We believe it has never been more important for charities to work in partnership, achieving even more together and having an even greater impact on animal welfare.

“There’s so much shared DNA between Blue Cross and the Scottish SPCA and we have a fantastic opportunity here to make best use of our collective expertise, be ambitious and make a difference to the lives of people and their pets across Scotland.”

With the impact of COVID-19 stretching resources and finances further, both charities believe they can achieve more by pooling knowledge.

The Scottish SPCA has nine animal rescue and rehoming centres across Scotland and a National Wildlife Rescue Centre.

It is the only animal welfare charity in the UK with the power to report people to the Crown Office for animal cruelty offences.

Blue Cross has presence with their Pet Bereavement Support Service, political outreach and educational work.

In recent years, both organisations have successfully campaigned for improvements to animal welfare legislation in Scotland and highlighted the illicit puppy trade to Holyrood.

In reviewing the areas where the charities provide help to pets and people, the Scottish SPCA and Blue Cross will be able to see where they can complement each other to extend reach to those in need.

The Scottish SPCA leads the UK-wide operation to disrupt the illegal puppy trade. Together with Blue Cross, they will also be seeking to improve how they can deliver on-site accommodation improvements for puppies seized at Scottish ports.

Blue Cross CEO, Chris Burghes, said: “Blue Cross firmly believes that partnerships are the future of charity working to ensure we can truly deliver on our aims to help the increasing numbers of pets and people in need who seek our help.

“By collaborating and combining services we can reach many more people in crisis who, through no fault of their own, need support in ensuring their companions are healthy and happy.

“One long term goal at Blue Cross is to ensure we can help those most in need and as we plan to expand our services across the UK, we very much look forward to working with the Scottish SPCA to help more people in Scotland and their pets.”