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Joint initiative to help people and pets in crisis


By David G Scott

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Two of the UK’s leading animal welfare charities have today announced plans to work in partnership to better support people and pets in urgent need.

The Scottish SPCA (SSPCA) and Blue Cross have launched a joint research study to identify ways to reach people living with pets in out-of-the-way, minority or vulnerable communities. The two charities are looking to help pet owners who are unable to access animal welfare services such as veterinary care, or people who may be struggling financially.

Louis the chihuahua found his forever home in Caithness after he was adopted from a rescue centre. Picture: DGS
Louis the chihuahua found his forever home in Caithness after he was adopted from a rescue centre. Picture: DGS

It is hoped the research project is the first step of a partnership which will allow both charities to share best practice, their specialist expertise and unique services to best serve pets and people.

The SSPCA 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.

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

Blossom the rescue greyhound has found a loving home now. Picture: Kirsty Cochrabe
Blossom the rescue greyhound has found a loving home now. Picture: Kirsty Cochrabe

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

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

Kirsteen Campbell, chief executive, Scottish SPCA. Picture: Peter Devlin
Kirsteen Campbell, chief executive, Scottish SPCA. Picture: Peter Devlin

The SSPCA has been saving animals from cruelty since 1839 and Blue Cross will be celebrating their 125th year in 2022, but their services remain as much needed now as ever. SSPCA chief executive, Kirsteen Campbell, said: “Since the coronavirus pandemic started, the SSPCA has continued to do a fantastic job delivering our vital services to support animals and people.

"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.”

Blue Cross CEO, Chris Burghes, said: "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.”

Get your perfect Valentine's Day partner at a rescue centre


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