The Paws Clause

As anyone sharing a house with an animal will know, the bond between people and their pets is hugely important. When people are vulnerable, that bond becomes irreplaceable. Pets can provide friendship when you feel alone, safety when you are in a dangerous situation, and even make you feel better when you are sick.

There is also increasing evidence to show that companion animals provide a source of comfort, enhance well-being and help to reduce isolation in people experiencing emotional distress or mental illness. Research has shown how interaction with animals can benefit individuals with a range of mental health issues, including dementia and Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and trauma. Through research & practice over decades it is becoming clear that there is a need to integrate pets into institutions & into housing.

It can seem like the more in need of a pet a person is, the more difficult it can be to keep one. Scottish Labour believe that everyone in Scotland, and particularly those who are vulnerable, should have the opportunity to access the benefits to their wellbeing pets can provide.

We have identified a number of potential policies which would help people keep their animal companions with them more easily and would be very interested in hearing the views of everyone in Scotland on this issue.

Please take a moment to complete this questionnaire and let us know what you think. Together we can make Scotland a fairer and better place to live for people and their pets.

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* 1. Should we improve accommodation access for dog owners and ensure there are pet friendly spaces for all housing options including local authority housing?

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* 2. Should we carry out an audit of temporary accommodation, private landlords, and hostels to determine pet friendly accommodation and determine if current provision is meeting need in these areas?

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* 3. Should we ensure that the socially rented sector adopt positive pet policies to enable their residents with dogs to transition to permanent accommodation with their pet?

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* 4. Should pet friendly clauses could be added to in Scottish secure tenancy agreements, with guidance on pet friendly accommodation issued by the government?

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* 5. Should we encourage pet friendly / pets allowed spaces in day centres, winter shelters, detox and rehab centres?

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* 6. Should care homes have a statement in their information booklets setting out their policies on pet ownership and should any future care home policy reflect the practical considerations and requirements needed to keep a pet?

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* 7. Should alternatives to  pet ownership (for example pets visiting the scheme)  considered by care homes?

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* 8. What further measures could Scottish Labour could take which would assist people fleeing domestic abuse to keep their pets with them?

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* 9. Would it be possible to amend the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 to include pets in domestic abuse prevention orders? How could this be achieved?

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* 10. Do you have any comments or suggestions relating to the Paws Clause?

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