Scottish SPCA launches Pets and Tenants together campaign
The Scottish SPCA has launched its Pets and Tenants Together campaign, calling for those in council or social housing to be able to keep their pet, alongside Edinburgh Eastern MSP, Ash Denham.
The SPCA said it is delighted to have the support of Ash Denham MSP for the Edinburgh Eastern constituency in raising awareness of the campaign.
Ms Denham, who has called on her constituents to have their say on this issue, met with SPCA CEO, Kirsteen Campbell, and head of education, policy and research, Gilly Mendes Ferreira. Also attending was Jackie Massie from youth-specific homeless charity Rock Trust. Pets and Tenants Together is also supported by Shelter Scotland.
Currently, there are no fixed rules around keeping pets in social or council housing. Keeping pets is subject to the type and owner of the property. In general, dogs are not allowed in most tower blocks. Restrictions will also depend on the organisation behind the property.
Pets are relinquished for many reasons such as poverty, escaping abuse or changes in a person’s lifestyle. Often, pets cannot be taken in to social or council housing by their owners due to restrictions on allowing pets in homes. This can be a devastating loss to both human and animal should they have to separate with potentially significant impacts on mental health and wellbeing.
SPCA’s 2021 manifesto called upon candidates in the Scottish Parliament to commit to developing an initiative which supports landlords and tenants to allow pets in homes. A survey of people across Scotland found that 77% of people believe housing associations and refuges should allow pets to help keep animals and people together.
Gilly Mendes Ferreira said: “We don’t believe that someone should have to choose between a pet and a house. Many people without a home will have to make that impossible decision with some deciding to stay on the street over giving up a beloved pet.
“It has been proven that the human-animal bond has so many benefits on someone’s physical, mental and social health. Pets can help with loneliness and children growing up with pets have increased levels of physical activity.
“In the UK, it has been estimated that pet ownership saves the NHS £2.45billion each year due to the reduced number of visits to the doctor by people with pets.”
She added: “We are asking for an initiative that will put pets and people first that provides all public and private landlords across Scotland with specialist advice and guidance on how to support pet friendly accommodation and access to incentives to help protect the human-animal bond.
“We are so happy to have the support of Ash Denham MSP in calling on her constituents in Edinburgh Eastern and the wider public to have their say.”
Ash Denham MSP added: “Pets offer comfort, stability and companionship and being forced to choose between your pet and a safe place to live is a choice no one should have to make.
“As MSP for Edinburgh Eastern I have been contacted by a number of constituents who have sadly been placed in this heart-breaking dilemma in the past.
“I would ask members of the public to visit the Scottish SPCA website to learn more about this campaign and if you have been affected by this to contact the charity directly with your personal experiences.”
Gilly Mendes Ferreira continued: “We want to understand how much of an issue this is across Scotland. We want to hear of people’s experiences finding accommodation as a pet owner. We’d like people to get in touch with us through our website or our helpline.”