Vulnerable and homeless people should be able to keep their pets in their temporary and sheltered accommodation, Scottish Labour has said.
The party has revealed its “paws clause” priorities as part of its campaign to protect vulnerable people who keep companion pets.
Following a consultation with animal charities and the public, Labour’s animal welfare spokeswoman Claudia Beamish set out ways they want to change the way people with pets are treated by the Government and local authorities.
Scottish Labour will campaign for more temporary accommodation and homelessness hostels across Scotland to accept pets.
It also wants national guidance both for local authorities in accepting pets in council houses and for care homes keeping residents’ animals on site.
Ms Beamish said: “I was hugely gratified to read the positive response to my ‘paws clause’ consultation.
“To many vulnerable people, their pet is a vital lifeline. Pets act as someone to talk to when there is no-one else to confide in, they are a way of growing compassion, responsibility, and empathy. Pets have also been proven to improve people’s mental and physical health, including studies showing reductions in heart disease in pet owners.
“It’s a commonly held truth that having a pet can help you get through tough times. I’m hugely grateful to organisations like Shelter, Fostering Compassion, Scottish Women’s Aid and the Dog’s Trust for their input to my consultation, along with all of the members of the public who shared their stories with me.
“It is their suggestions and stories which have shaped our plan of action in this area. I believe that with the advice we have and will continue to receive, we will be able to make a small change for people facing hard times that will make a huge difference to their quality of life.
“We will also be developing our manifesto on these and other important animal welfare issues over the coming months and I am keen to hear from organisations and individuals across Scotland.”