Registration and licensing of animal sanctuaries and rehoming activities: summary

Responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposals for a modern system of registration and licensing of animal sanctuaries and rehoming activities.

About the consultation

Question 1 – Are there any other measures you consider should be included in legislation for animal sanctuaries and rehoming activities in Scotland?

The Scottish Government asked respondents to provide information on other measures they thought should be included in legislation which had not been previously addressed in the consultation. 103 respondents provided further information on other measures they thought should be included.

One concern was the need for sanctuaries and rehoming centres in receipt of charitable donations to disclose their finances. This would ensure transparency on how the funds were being spent by each charity and ensure that they were not being run for profit. Legislation should also be clear that when money is exchanged in the rehoming process then the premises/operation must be licensed.

"Premises should be required to provide information as to the amount of monies being donated and the cost of expenditure in running the premises. This would ensure that charitable donations are being spent as intended and that no person makes substantial profitable gain from running an animal sanctuary." (East Ayrshire Council)

Respondents suggested that there should be clear definitions on the types of activity the legislation will cover and that further consideration should be given to species-specific risk based assessments. It was highlighted that consideration be given to the space required for each individual animal cared for on the premises and this could perhaps be stipulated in the legislation.

Many felt that consideration should be given to the inspection and licence process. In particular to premises which are currently licensed for animal activities by aligning the licence periods and ensuring a joint inspection for all animal activities. However, if a premises is boarding animals as well as rehoming then they should hold two licences for the two animal activities.

" For someone who already holds an animal activity licence such as dog breeding there should be provisions for licence periods to be aligned and ways to avoid unnecessary duplication of inspections e.g. local authority could inspect for breeding and rehoming within the same visit." (The Kennel Club and Scottish Kennel Club)

Respondents felt that the Scottish Government needed to give more thought to the implications of the licence scheme for multi-site organisations in particular what species are kept on these premises at any one time. There were also suggestions of additional conditions which could be imposed on licence holders. These included;

  • – Dangerous Wild Animal species should not be allowed,
  • – People should be over 18 years to apply,
  • – A ban on animals being brought in from abroad for rescue.

Question 4 – Do you have any other comments on the way this consultation has been conducted?

A total of 81 respondents made one or more comments about the way the consultation has been conducted.

Positive comments included:

  • Consultation has been conducted well and happy that it has been carried out.
  • Look forward to the implementation of this proposal given the growing amount of problems in this area.
  • It is good that the Scottish Government have reached so far in making an attempt to bring more regulations into force to protect animals from suffering in animal sanctuaries that were set up to assist them.

Negative comments include:

  • There was insufficient publicity surrounding the consultation and it was only after seeing an article in a local paper in which they became aware of it.
  • Thought it would have been useful to include specific ideas of what will be included in the legislation.
  • Local Authorities have not been involved in the discussion process.
  • Has not taken into consideration the basic requirements for enforcers to be qualified and to operate within a fair, proportionate and transparent system.
  • There would appear to be an emphasis on the role of the SSPCA in formulating this consultation.
  • The issues requiring attention are greater than this consultation suggests are being looked at.
  • Some of the questions were too vague to answer yes or no.
  • This online form includes requests for comments which are not included in the consultation document.
  • There was a very limited amount of detail which meant it was difficult to make informed responses and the questions did not consider issues such as proposed definitions for 'sanctuary' and rehoming centre.
  • The consultation focused largely on the rehoming of dogs and cats and did not provide much information about the wider sector including sanctuaries that care for other species of animals and sanctuaries that offer long-term or life-time care for animals. There appear to be relatively few animal sanctuaries on the list of organisations consulted and we are concerned that their views may not be fully represented.


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