TODAY is International Homeless Animals Day – the day of the year which highlights pet overpopulation across the world.
With the number of homeless animals in Scotland continuing to rise significantly, we visited the Scottish SPCA centre in Dumbarton to find out more about the problem.
Last year, the there was a 44% increase in the number of animals taken into the care of the SSPCA as a result of cases submitted to the Crown Office.
They are also seeing a rising number of specialist animals, such as snakes and bearded dragons coming into care, fuelled by the burgeoning exotic pet trade.
There is also a rise in people hoping to re-home animals as they are unable to find rented accommodation that allows pets.
An increase in social media and Gumtree adverts are also meaning a rise in spontaneous pet purchases, with misleading ads meaning people don’t know the true nature of the animals.
“For example, some ads may say that a dog is great with children, but when people get the dog, they find out this isn’t the case, and it ends up in our care,” said Kim McKarrell, assistant manager at SSPCA Dumbarton.
The rise in “stylish” dogs is also causing a problem, as puppy farms cash in on dogs currently in high demand like pugs or French bulldogs.
The farms produce animals with many health problems in future, and with many vet visits needed to help the problem, people are unable to afford care.
“Taking on any animal is a big responsibility and a commitment in terms of your time, money and of course your attention,” said Mike Flynn, Scottish SPCA Superintendent.
“We always urge people to think very carefully about whether they are able to provide for the needs of an animal before getting a pet.
“We would encourage anyone who is looking to take on a pet to come along to one of our Centres instead of going to a breeder or a pet shop as we have such a large number of animals in our care who are looking for good homes.”