EDINBURGH Dog and Cat Home met MSPs from all parties at the Scottish Parliament to highlight the growing issue of ‘pet poverty’ today.
Staff from the Home were joined by animal champions, Marc Abraham, the celebrity TV vet and Kirsty Gallagher (pictured), TV presenter and a keen supporter of animal welfare.
The parliamentary event was hosted by MSP, Christine Grahame, who has been a keen advocate of the Home’s work over the years.
MSPs heard how the Home has a mission to keep pets in loving homes via a series of education and outreach programmes, initiated by the cost-of-living crisis and a surge in pet owners calling the Home to ask about surrendering their pets.
And the increasing number of owners using the pet foodbanks, which were set up by the Home in 2019.
The Home currently provides support to 88 foodbanks across the east and central Scotland, reaching into the Scottish Borders.
In addition to pet food, donated via public support and through donation stations in supermarkets and business outlets, the Home also provides items such as beds, bedding and collars, leads and even toys to ease the cost to pet owners.
The increase in demand over the past 12 months has led to the Home feeding more than 3,500 pets monthly and, to date, has delivered 61 tonnes of food to pet owners.
Sadly, the Home has received record numbers of calls from owners having to consider giving up their pets. In March alone, a total of 110 owners called the Home to ask about surrendering their pets.
The Home’s CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, said: “We know that often, behind every pet in crisis is a person in crisis. Every year, we care for hundreds of dogs and cats, many from loving homes and families. We know that social issues, such as finances, illness homelessness and domestic abuse can all affect their ability to give their pet the things they need.
“Our goal is to empower owners to keep their pets where they belong: at home. A change in financial circumstances shouldn’t mean you can’t keep a pet.
“In these situations, pets are a much-needed comfort, providing stability and security.
“We look at the wider picture and want to take action that changes the story for pets and people.”
As the need for foodbank services continues to increase the Home was recently forced to issue an urgent appeal for donations of food as demand threatened to exceed supply.
Christine Grahame MSP commented: “With inflation at an all-time high for decades, many pet owners are finding it increasingly difficult to feed their animals, let alone vets’ fees.”
Kirsty Gallagher said: “As a huge animal lover, I jumped at the chance to come back to my home town of Edinburgh to support Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s ‘Pack in Pet Poverty’ campaign at the Scottish Parliament.
“These difficult times only highlight the unimaginable situation that some pet owners face – being able to keep their pets, or tragically having to give them up. I’m delighted to lend my voice to this campaign raising awareness of the resources and help out there, such as the pet foodbanks and drop in dog care clinics.”
Notes for editors:
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home was founded in 1883 and works in partnership with police and local authorities to rescue, reunite and rehome lost, stray and abandoned dogs and cats across Edinburgh and the Lothians.
It has an open-door policy, accepting any dog or cat that comes through the door in need, whatever shape, breed or size, and staff work tirelessly to find a permanent loving home for every animal, however long it takes.
Where possible, the Home aims to help pet owners keep their pets in loving homes through their pet food bank, education programme and other community outreach services.
It costs around £3 million a year to run Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and the charity relies almost entirely on the generosity of donations from the public.
For further information on Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, please visit www.edch.org.uk. Follow Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EdinDogCatHome
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