The Scottish SPCA is appealing to animal lovers across the country for support as its centres hit capacity. This new campaign is a result of the welfare issues that have arisen from the pandemic and asks that you don’t let animals suffer.
We have seen an increase in the number of calls to our helpline around unwanted animals. The rise in demand for puppies has led to an increase in the number of raids and seizures of pups from low-welfare puppy farms and dealers. This has resulted in a surge in the number of animals in our rescue and rehoming centres and increased pressure on our vital services.
In 2020, we continued to be there for animals and people despite the challenges of the pandemic. Over 136,000 calls were made to our animal helpline and our frontline team attended an average of 214 incidents each day, which totalled almost 78,000 over the year. 3,369 animals were rehomed and over 7,000 wild animals were admitted to our National Wildlife Rescue Centre.
We cared for over 1,300 animals seeking temporary refuge which includes those involved in legal proceedings. 317 animals caught up in court cases were cared for over the pandemic.
We are dedicated to preventing animals from suffering. Angus the Pomeranian crossbreed was just weeks old when he had to be put to sleep due to having parvovirus.
Many pups from the low-welfare puppy trade become very unwell. Disease among pups is rife due to the appalling conditions they are kept in and these can be fatal.
Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Unfortunately the pandemic has seen a rise in the number of puppies being sold. The pups are bred for financial gain with no thought given to the welfare of the puppies or their mums.
“We are dedicated to disrupting the multi-million-pound low-welfare puppy trade. Our undercover special investigations unit rescued over 150 puppies from dealers and ferry ports in 2020.”
Annemarie from Glasgow bought Angus online as a present for her two daughters aged six and 11 years old. The eldest daughter in particular, Caitlyn, fell in love with Angus immediately.
Annemarie said: “I can’t believe I was fooled by these people. I keep asking myself if there was something I could have done differently. I had no idea about parvovirus and how serious it was. It caused us a lot of heartache, to Caitlyn especially.
“Caitlyn had been asking for a dog for years and had been very responsible by doing research in to looking after a puppy, what they ate, how to train them. I saw she was ready to help care for a dog so I started looking in to it.
“I found the advert for Angus on an online selling site. He was white, fluffy and adorable so I messaged the seller. I now realise I was fed excuses for the breeder to drop Angus to us but it all seemed so legitimate.
“Caitlyn and my other daughter were head over heels for Angus within seconds of meeting him so that was that, he became ours.
“Angus was dropped off on the Friday. On the Sunday, he just suddenly took ill. He was playing normally then started to retch and was sick. To be on the safe side we contacted the vet who told us it could just be that he was settling in to his new environment. Later that night he was sick again so we took him in to the 24-hour vet.
“The vets found Angus had a temperature and gave him an anti-sickness injection. We took him home and put him in his crate. In the morning he was so lethargic, I just knew something was seriously wrong so we took him back to the vet immediately.
“Angus was sick again while at the vets so they ran some tests and it turned out he had parvovirus.
“We had no idea the disease could be fatal. The vets did all they could but there was nothing else they could do. His wee body couldn’t fight any longer so they had to put him to sleep.
“Caitlyn on her knees, absolutely devastated. It was awful.
“I called the breeder and spoke to them but after that initial call, they disappeared. The phone number was no longer connected, the adverts disappeared, everything. And, of course, the paperwork he’d handed over was fake too.
“We ended up paying almost £1,000 for vet bills which was a huge cost to us. But that’s nothing compared to the emotional cost to all of us. We would do anything to have him back.
“This has just been the most heartbreaking experience for me and my girls. I just keep thinking about little Angus and all the other animals like him and the people and children affected by these disgusting low-welfare dealers.”
Unfortunately, many animals like Angus are still involved in the low-welfare puppy trade and are sick or dying.
Mike continued: “Our centres have hit capacity and we desperately need the support of the animal loving Scottish public so that they don’t let animals suffer.
“We will continue to be here for every person and animal, like Angus, that needs us in all communities across Scotland.
“Every single person who signs up to support us with a monthly donation will be making an impact and will allow us to rescue animals like Angus.”
We receive no government funding and are entirely reliant on donations from the public.
To find out more about the #DontLetAnimalsSuffer campaign and becoming a member visit here.