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Receptions in Scottish SPCA rescue centres to reopen

Audrey the Jack Russel outside on a bench

Reception areas in our rescue centres will open again from today, Monday 28 March.

Our nine animal rescue and rehoming centres are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to our receptions, which will be open from 1pm to 4pm daily, for the first time since early 2020. Members of the public will be able to chat to the team, drop in donations or get help with filling in their rehoming applications.

However, perhaps the biggest change to come to the way we operate will be that members of the public will no longer be able to access the centres and view animals in the same way that they could prior to 2020.

Full centres will not be open to the public as our animal care teams have noticed a considerable improvement in the temperament and behaviour of animals during the pandemic. Many of the animals in our care need dedicated rehabilitative support and animals have been considerably less stressed without the presence of people they don’t know around them.

We cared for over 7,000 pets in 2021, many of whom had come from difficult backgrounds of abuse or neglect, or had never experienced a kennel environment. During the pandemic, with our centres closed to the public, we began to see the animal welfare benefits first-hand

We now rehome animals online and carry out virtual home checks. This has helped to speed up the rehoming process and find fantastic homes for thousands of animals. The reception areas will be open every day for people to pop in to discuss rehoming.

Chief executive Kirsteen Campbell said: “When our centres were forced to close due to the pandemic, we saw quite a drastic improvement in the stress levels of many animals. We have sorely missed having members of the public in our centres for the past two years and are excited to welcome people back albeit in a slightly different capacity. Ultimately, this new approach is the best thing for the welfare of the animals we care for.

“Some animals can find it quite overwhelming in a busy centre, especially if many of the faces they see are unknown to them. We’re optimistic our new way of operating will combine the best of both worlds, where animal welfare is prioritised and people can still pop in to discuss rehoming or drop off a donation.”

One such animal was Audrey the Jack Russell, who came into the care of our Lanarkshire Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre as part of a large group of terriers that had been kept in farm like conditions with little to no handling or human contact. As a result of this, she was extremely nervous and fearful of people and any sudden movements.

For Audrey, just seeing our team alone was a lot for her to handle. It took a long time to gain her trust and get her used to being on the lead to go for walks or even accept being petted.

The animal care team now has more dedicated time to rehabilitate animals like Audrey. This reduces the amount of time they spend in a kennel environment and frees up space for another animal which needs our help.

For other animals, the lack of visitors has meant they have been able to have a calmer and less stressful experience in a kennel environment. Diesel, a Staffordshire bull terrier in the care of our Aberdeenshire centre, has benefitted immensely.

Diesel the Staffordshire bull terrier sitting facing the camera looking happy

Graeme Innes, deputy head of field operations, said, “For many dogs, members of the public walking around can be very exciting and frustrating as they have no way of getting to the people they can see. This can lead to them excessively barking, jumping or spinning and eventually becoming distressed. As people visited throughout the day they’d be stuck in a cycle of this behaviour and find it very difficult to settle.

“Diesel has really benefitted from the centre being closed to the general public. He still exhibits behaviours like jumping and barking when someone he doesn’t know is nearby. If the centre was fully open again this would be his constant behaviour.

Receptions in all nine of our centres will be open daily from 1pm until 4pm. Anyone looking to adopt an animal can view and apply for all the animals we currently have available here:

If anyone is unable to apply online for any reason they should visit the centre’s reception during opening hours for assistance with completing the form.




If anyone is concerned about an animal, please do not hesitate to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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