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11 December 2017, 07:14 | Updated: 11 December 2017, 07:15
Plans to introduce licences for animal rescue centres to ensure welfare standards have been put forward by the Scottish Government.
A consultation has been launched on proposals to create a system of registration and licensing for rehoming centres and animal sanctuaries.
The consultation considers the need for registration and licensing of premises depending on the number of animals kept, how this may work for larger organisations with multiple premises, and whether to allow independent accreditation of applicants to reduce the burden on local authority inspectors.
Launching the consultation on a visit to Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "Scotland's animal rehoming centres and sanctuaries perform a vitally important job and standards of welfare are generally high.
"But we know that isolated problems persist and there is legitimate public concern about this important issue .
"It is also vital that those rehoming a pet can be confident they are adopting from a reputable rescue centre.
"That is why we plan to introduce a straightforward licensing system, which will deal effectively with cases where animal welfare is not being sufficiently protected, while not being overly burdensome for those already doing a good job.
"I would encourage everyone with an interest in animal welfare to respond to this consultation by the end of February and help shape our plans on this important issue."
The 12-week consultation closes on March 4.