South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth joined the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on patrol across in South West Scotland last week.

Colin Smyth MSP spent the day with Scottish SPCA Inspector Katie McIntyre to learn about the work they carry out across Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire to protect animals and pets from harm.

Afterwards Colin met with Scottish SPCA Chief Executive Kirsteen Campbell and Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn to discuss animal welfare issues in the South West, including the ongoing work carried out by the Scottish SPCA at the Cairnryan Ferry port to crack down on the puppy trade. The local MSP also toured the Scottish SPCA’s South West of Scotland Animal and Rehoming Centre in Ayr with the Centre manager Marion Hainey.

At the Animal and Rehoming Centre, Colin met Maddi who is a 14 year old crossbreed, one of the many animals at the centre who since Colin’s visit has been re-homed. Maddi’s previous owners could unfortunately no longer look after her.

The centre is home to a range of animals from Pablo the corn snake, who has been looked after at the centre for the past 21 months to Dec the ferret, all looking to be rehomed along with cats and dogs.  Colin Smyth has urged people considering a pet to make the rehoming centre a port of call and warned against people buying pets online which would fuel the puppy farm trade.

The South Scotland MSP also urged local people to report any instances of injured animals or evidence of animal cruelty to the Scottish SPCA to investigate

Colin Smyth said, “Thanks to the Scottish SPCA for showing me round their South West Scotland Centre and to their Inspectorate team for taking me out to see the vital work they do to keep animals safe across South West Scotland. The work the SSPCA do at Cairnryan cracking down on the puppy trade trying to bring animals across from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is invaluable. The trade is a multimillion-pound industry and many of the poor dogs seized at Cairnryan are bred on large scale puppy farms with are often in appalling conditions, which leads to injuries, health issues and behavioural problems.

But it’s not just the high profile work the Scottish SPCA do tackling puppy farming that is important, it also responding to individual cases across the area including Wigtownshire to ensure animals are safe in our communities. If any local people come across injured animals or have concerns about animal cruelty instances they should contact the Scottish SPCA to report the matter.

“Many of the animals rescued in Wigtownshire are taken to the rehoming centre in Ayr. This provides an opportunity for local people looking for a new family pet. The Scottish SPCA have dedicated teams of vets, animal care assistants, wildlife assistants and volunteers who look after a huge variety of animals, from dogs, cats, rabbits and other domestic pets to horses, farm and exotic animals and wildlife. The many animals from the south of Scotland , in particular dogs and cats, currently being looked after at the rehoming centre are in desperate need of a new home”.

“If anyone in the Wigtownshire area considering a new pet I would urge them to make the rehoming centre a point of call. We read every day about people buying a new pet online and ending up with an animal bred on a puppy farm in poor conditions. Often the puppies have huge medical problems that can be hidden, and families don’t realise until it’s too late. They are either faced with huge vets bills or the animals themselves can be so ill, they die, causing heartache for their new family. If people buy animals online, they are simply fueling the puppy trade we are trying to crack down on at Cairnryan.”

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We’ve responded to thousands of reports of animals in need across the south of Scotland so far in 2019 so it was a real pleasure to welcome Colin to our Ayrshire centre to provide him with an in-depth experience of the work of our dedicated staff. It’s great to see Colin offer such strong support for our work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in his local area.”

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