New centre cared for over 500 animals

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The Scottish SPCA’s Aberdeenshire Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre at Drumoak has cared for 533 defenceless animals since its opening last June.

Nationally, Scotland’s animal welfare charity saw the number of animals in its care leap from 12,600 to 13,437, while calls to its helpline remained extremely high at 180,556 - just under 500 a day.

The Scottish SPCA’s inspectors and animal rescue officers attended almost 1,000 incidents every week.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “The 50,039 incidents we dealt with, which included investigations, rescues, abandonments and providing assistance, and the 13,437 animals we cared for was staggering and put a massive strain on our resources.

“It’s hard to be sure if cruelty itself is increasing as we also have to consider that our profile has never been higher and more people than ever before are aware of how we can help.

“What we can say is sheer volume is far from our only concern. While the majority of cases we investigate are the result of ignorance rather than outright cruelty, last year sadly demonstrated once again that there is no limit to how far some people will go to abuse animals.

“Horrific cases included a dog that was dumped in a garden in Edinburgh after his owner let him to starve to death, three kittens tied up in a plastic bag and thrown off a bridge in the Borders and a family of swans who suffered multiple injuries after an airgun attack in West Lothian.

“We also rescued lots of small animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, who had been dumped outdoors like rubbish, many in extremely poor health.

“We are very thankful for the support we receive and we believe Scotland is still largely a nation of animal lovers. It is clear though that cruelty to animals is still a serious issue in this country.”

Scottish SPCA investigations last year resulted in 46 people being banned from keeping animals, 12 for life, which is seven more than the previous year. Four people were jailed, compared to one in 2010, and fines totalled more than £25,000.

CS Flynn said the Scottish SPCA was continuing to invest in both its frontline and in education in particular.

* Last year, a total of 2,504 wild animals were rehabilitated and released back into their natural habitat.