Animal Cruelty FAQs

If you see an animal in danger or which appears to be injured please call our animal helpline immediately on 03000 999 999.

Unfortunately, we cannot receive concerns about an animal’s welfare by email.

Our helpline is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Our helpline advisors are also available to offer animal welfare advice if you require it.

When you call our animal helpline to report an incident our helpline advisors will ask you for key information, such as where and when the incident took place, and any information you may have about who is responsible.

When we have these details, one of our inspectors will investigate further.

Scottish SPCA inspectors are authorised to enforce the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, which means we can report cases of suspected animal cruelty to the Crown Office. While we receive no government funding, we are the only animal welfare charity in the UK with this status.

On occasion, our inspectors will issue advice to animal owners to help improve animal welfare standards. We may also issue an animal welfare notice which is legally enforceable, or submit a report to the procurator fiscal who will decide if the owner should be prosecuted.

For most calls, animal helpline will ask for your name and phone number, and won’t be able to accept an anonymous report. However, please be assured that all calls to our animal helpline are in strict confidence. To find out more about how your personal information is processed and stored, please see our privacy policy, which you can find here. Calls are subject to the Data Protection Act 2018.

Please call us as soon as possible on 03000 999 999 if the circumstances with the animal have changed and you no longer need us to attend.

As we are a charity with limited resources, we really appreciate if you can let us know if we no longer need to attend as we can then prioritise animals who are still in need of our help.


As Scotland’s only all animal emergency rescue service, we need to make sure we are prioritising our calls and responding to animals that are still in need of our help as quickly as possible. We are therefore unable to provide any updates about previous reports. Animal welfare is our top priority and we can assure you that we will always take the necessary steps to ensure this remains the case.


If you believe a dog has been abandoned or is sick or injured please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

However, if you are making a noise complaint about a barking dog you should contact your local council.

If the dog is suffering and you’re unable to locate the owner then call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999. If the car is parked at a supermarket then you should ask for a broadcast to be put through the shop asking for the owner to return to their car.

It’s a common misconception that Scotland doesn’t get warm enough to cause a dog distress when left alone in a car over the summer months.

We’re seeing an increased number of calls to our animal helpline proving that the public are also concerned about this issue. Unfortunately it also means that there’s more for us to do to prevent it happening.

Leaving a dog in a car can cause the animal great distress, and in some cases, lead to death.

Find out more about our annual #dogsdieinhotcars campaign.

Whilst it can be upsetting to see a dog left alone for long periods of time, legally dogs are allowed to be left alone providing they have access to adequate food, water and shelter. We understand you want to help but the Scottish SPCA must act within in the law and can often only offer advice in this situation.

However if you’re concerned about the welfare of the dog, or believe their basic needs aren’t being met, please phone our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

If your dog is aggressive we suggest that you get them checked by your vet as there may be an underlying issue that you are currently unaware of.

We cannot accept any aggressive dogs that we would be unable to rehome safely. We have a duty to ensure the safety of the public and our staff at all times.

Pets can often develop behavioural problems which can be upsetting, especially if they display hostile and destructive behaviour, but you can do things to help. There are lots of dog training classes available and being a patient owner who takes the time to train your dog properly will help.

Please contact Police Scotland if you see a dangerous dog, witness, or are victim to an attack. The owner of the dog should also seek veterinary advice as there may be an underlying issue causing the dog to act this way.

Any dog can be dangerous in the wrong hands. It is for this reason that we encourage new dog owners to socialise their canines and ensure they are well trained and cared for.

Sadly it is not a legal requirement to walk dogs as long as they have access to an exercise area. The Scottish SPCA reports directly to the procurator fiscal and has to act within the law at all times.

If you are concerned that the dog is suffering and not receiving any exercise please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

It is a legal requirement to stop and report the accident to Police Scotland when you hit a dog, goat, horse, cattle, donkey, mule, sheep or pig with your car.

Drivers are not required to report a cat or any other animals, however they may still wish to contact the police to inform them of any accidents.

There are a few ways to keep cats out of your garden, however it’s very important to ensure the feline doesn’t come to any harm.

Similar to other animals, such as foxes, cats will be deterred from entering a garden if there are prickly plants and chicken wire fencing. Other methods such as placing plastic bottles half-filled with water in your garden may also help deter felines.

If your cat is stuck up a tree we would suggest giving your cat time to come down on its own. An attempt to rescue them might chase them up even higher or cause them to panic.

We know that it can be worrying when your cat runs up a tree but cats will often come down when they are hungry.

However if you have a very young kitten, or if your cat has been stuck for 24 hours or more then please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999 and someone will be able to advise.

You shouldn’t call the fire brigade before calling us. Our animal rescue officer will give them a call if they need help.

If you discover an injured wild rabbit or hare then please phone our animal helpline on 03000 999 999. If it appears uninjured please leave it alone and treat it like any other wild animal.

If you are looking for advice on bees or would like to contact a beekeeper you should visit

Yellow bellied sliders are classed as non-natives by an EU directive, but that has not yet been ratified into Scottish law which allows us to rescue this species if they are abused, abandoned and injured and help find them new homes.

Many equine breeds can live outside all year round depending on their individual needs. Native breeds need less additional nutrition and shelter whereas finer thoroughbred types will need significantly more.

If you have concerns for the wellbeing of any equine whose welfare you believe may be being compromised, please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

All calls received to our animal helpline will be allocated to an inspector who will review the situation and take further action if required.

Whilst we always help where we can, as a charity our resources are very limited so we unfortunately cannot attend reports of deceased animals.

Should the animal be alive please give us a call and we will be able to assist in any way that we can.

Your local council will be able to help if you come across a deceased animal.

We understand that it can be a very distressing situation when you discover an injured animal.

If you’re unsure what to do whilst waiting for an animal rescue officer then we can arrange for someone to give you a ring back with specific information depending on the animal and its condition.

To report an injured animal please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

Yes, we offer a forever care service free of charge. Should anything happen to you, you will have peace of mind knowing that your pet will come into our care and they will be well looked after until we can find them a suitable, loving new home. We are very proud of our policy to never put a healthy animal to sleep.

As we receive no government funding, we ask that you consider making a donation or leaving a gift in your Will to help us continue our work saving Scotland’s abused, abandoned and injured animals.

If you'd like more information on our forever care service or wish to register your pet(s), please click here or contact our legacy and in memory manager by emailing

We’d love your old blankets and any unopened food that you have. Feel free to pop along to your local centre any day between 1pm and 4pm to drop your donations off.

Unfortunately we can’t accept any duvets as we find animals can destroy them very easily.

If you are an organisation looking to make a large donation or partner with us then please contact our Corporate Fundraising Manager, on 03000 999 999.

You can view a full list of items you can donate here.

We don’t currently offer any financial assistance for vet bills although the PDSA or Blue Cross can often help. To find out if you are eligible for their veterinary assistance visit their websites here:  



You can help raise funds by donating any unwanted jewellery, electronics, stamps, currency, clothing/textiles and even cars!

Find out more about recycling your unwanted items here

If you have something not listed on our website which you would like to donate please give our fundraising team a call on 03000 999 999 (option 4).

There a few different options when returning your sponsorship money.

You can call 03000 999 999 (option 4) to make a payment over the phone. Our fundraising  team are always more than happy to help in any way they can.

Another option is to address a cheque to Scottish SPCA and post it to:

The Fundraising Team
Scottish SPCA 6U
Halbeath Interchange Business Park
Kingseat Road
KY11 8RY

Please do not send money in the post as it can easily be lost.

We have special food collection boxes throughout Scotland which are very popular and are in convenient locations. Contact your local centre for more information. 

We also accept donations online through our Amazon Wish List. Find a full list of Wish Lists on our donate food page.