THE RSPCA is calling for a new law which will give animals involved in legal proceedings the chance to be rehomed quickly.
Currently some neglected and abused pets which are rescued as part of an investigation cannot be rehomed until the case has completed, which means some animals can wait years before they are put up for adoption.
The charity is calling for a change in the law which would mean an animal’s future is no longer dependent on court proceedings.
It says a new animal welfare law allowing an animal to be rehomed following a two-month appeal process would mean the RSPCA can give pets new homes without waiting for lengthy court cases to conclude.
In 2019, the RSPCA rehomed some 10,500 animals in the Midlands – and around a quarter of these were in their care as a result of an investigation.
The charity also spent some £5million in costs for animals involved in prosecutions during that year.
One case involved an eight-month-old dog called Beau who came into the RSPCA’s care in December 2019 after CCTV footage caught his owner kicking and stamping on his head.
It took just over a year for lengthy court proceedings to conclude which meant Beau was finally available for adoption from Newbrook Animal Centre in Birmingham in December 2020.
Spokeswoman Shelley Phillips said: “Our animal care staff go to great lengths to make sure all the animals in our rescue centres get the care and attention they need and are treated as if they were their own pets, but a rescue centre can never substitute the comfort and security of a permanent home with loving owners.
“We know spending extended periods of time in kennels and temporary accommodation can impact an animal’s psychological welfare. This is particularly true for puppies which are at a critical stage of their development and we are seeing increasing numbers of puppies coming into our care as part of our investigation work.
“This is why we are urging governments in England and Wales to make a change in the law which would allow us to rehome a pet after two-months.”
The charity says many dogs find kennel life challenging and dogs can show considerable physiological and behavioural distress.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Sam Gaines said: “Sadly, our welfare teams are frequently required to deal with behavioural problems in dogs due to spending long periods in kennels. Some dogs may show their frustration by barking or whining while others will hide away and despite the best efforts of our animal care staff this can have a long-term impact on their wellbeing. Some may even display repetitive or compulsive behaviours which require medication and behavioural treatment.
“The RSPCA goes to great lengths to provide a stable environment for all the pets in our care and work hard to rehabilitate those dogs who struggle with kennel life but we feel that these issues could often be avoided if the animals were rehomed much more quickly.”
Visit www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/animalrehoming for more details.