That of Zara Brown of Patna, Ayrshire, was a shocking case. Running the privately owned Ayrshire Ark rescue shelter, she had raised large sums of money for the dogs in her care. In truth, she was the only one to benefit from those donations: while she spent the money on herself the dogs were left to live in squalor. Uncared for and starved, many of them died and the bodies of some were found in a freezer.
Prosecution was brought on following a Scottish SPCA investigation, and prompted the charity to ask for a change in legislation which would require all animal rescue shelters to obtain licences, and thus be subject to review and standards to uphold. This, they argue, would make it easier to stop people like like Brown – who, as thing stand, can keep anybody from seeing the true conditions of the animals in their care for a long, long time.
However, not everybody is keen on the idea of a licensing system for animal rescues: many argue that it would damage small charities ran by true animal lovers, forcing too much red tape and regulations on them. In short, it may mean the closure of struggling shelters over technicalities and ultimately endanger more animals than it would protect.
Should animal rescue shelters be required to obtain a licence?
Share your views on our Facebook thread, in the comments below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org