Arran Banner Letters – week 40

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Animal welfare

Sir,

I’m involved with the Arran Group of the SSPCA and recently I was approached by someone who was seriously concerned about the welfare of a neighbour’s dog, which he knew was never walked. He contacted the SSPCA on the mainland who sent an inspector over who reported that, in the legal definition of the term, this dog was not neglected and therefore he could take no action. He agreed though that, the dog was not having the best welfare if it wasn’t being walked.

I asked the SSPCA if they could provide me with a definition of dog cruelty and also what constitutes good care. Here is their advice:

‘The Scottish SPCA enforces the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and makes sure that the five animal welfare needs are met. These are the need for a suitable environment and diet, the ability to exhibit natural behaviours, to be protected from suffering, injury and disease and being housed with, or apart, from other animals.

‘If anyone is not meeting the five basic needs or is breaking animal welfare law, we will intervene.

‘We investigate all reports made to our confidential animal helpline. In 2018, we received over 202,000 calls and responded to over 90,000 incidents.

‘While it can be upsetting to see a dog left alone for long periods of time, legally dogs are allowed to be left alone for up to 12 hours at a time, providing they have access to adequate food, water and shelter.

‘Similarly, it is not a legal requirement to walk dogs as long as they have access to an exercise area.

‘We would always recommend for dogs to be exercised outside as this is an important part of socialising, with humans and other canines. It also provides mental and physical stimulation which can stop a dog showing boredom through destructive behaviour. A dog’s sense of smell can be 100,000 times stronger than humans, so allowing them outside will stimulate senses and keep their mind active.

‘If anyone is concerned an animal is suffering due to not receiving any exercise, please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.’

Yours,

Christine Drennan

Arran SSPCA

Crafting cooperation

Sir,

May we take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported us in our fundraising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support.  This year we held two crafty events at two different venues – The Shore in Whiting Bay and Orca Krafts in Brodick.

People came to create while enjoying tea and cake and help raise money for this important charity.  Between us we managed to raise just over £300 and we are hugely grateful for all the efforts put in to make these events so enjoyable.  It has been a joy to work with two new businesses for this campaign.  Thank you to everyone involved.

Yours,

Fiona Doubleday,
On behalf of Crafts and Company.

Autism hours

Sir,

Shops, cafes and other businesses can be a sensory overload for many autistic people.

They can be crowded, unpredictable, loud, bright and can mean an extremely stressful experience – with staff and the public not knowing how to help.

Sadly, this means many of Scotland’s 58,000 autistic people find going to cafes and shops too stressful and simply avoid them altogether.

They close themselves off and their world shrinks – one of the reasons why two thirds of autistic people tell us that they feel socially isolated.

That’s why here at National Autistic Society Scotland we are promoting a week of Autism Hours from Saturday October 5th to Saturday October 12, where retailers and businesses can offer a more autism-friendly service.

Small adjustments, like dimming lights, turning off music, setting aside a quiet space, and making sure staff are extra aware of autistic customers can go a long way to making autistic people and their families feel more comfortable.

Since starting out in 2017 thousands of businesses have participated and encouragingly many continue to hold Autism Hours on a regular basis such as Morrisons, The Entertainer and an array of independent retailers.

More than 1,250 businesses and retailers across Scotland have signed-up to hold an Autism Hour this year and create an autism-friendly shopping experience for their customers.

Autistic people and families can find out about Autism Hours happening near them by visiting our interactive map at www.autism.org.uk/autismhour

Yours,

Nick Ward,

Director of National Autistic Society Scotland.

Compulsory micrcochipping

Sir,

Cats are much-loved pets, yet many of your readers may be surprised to learn that they do not have the same level of protection as dogs when it comes to microchipping. While microchipping is compulsory for dogs, there are no such laws for cats, and this means many lost or injured cats are not able to be reunited with their owners. Being independent and curious, cats are more likely than dogs to roam and get lost far from home.

Cats Protection has launched a petition calling on the government to bring in laws to ensure that all owned cats across the UK are microchipped. Microchipping is a safe and permanent method of identification, unlike collars which are prone to coming off.

By ensuring all owned cats are microchipped, owners will have the peace of mind of knowing their cat has the best chance of being returned home should they become lost. In the sad event a cat has been killed on the roads, the details on their microchip can also ensure their owner can be informed.

We welcome Labour’s Animal Welfare Manifesto, stating its intention to expand mandatory microchipping for cats, and the Government’s Animal Welfare Action plan committing to a consultation on cat microchipping.

Cat lovers can show their support for compulsory micrcochipping of owned cats, and help more cats be reunited with their owners, by signing Cats Protection’s petition at www.cats.org.uk/microchippingpetition

Yours,

Jacqui Cuff,

Head of advocacy & government relations,

Cats Protection.