Two Renfrewshire councillors are highlighting that giving pets as prizes in Scotland is illegal after they were contacted by a number of residents to support a campaign to make it illegal.

There has been a flurry of emails to councillors, apparently highlighting a campaign by the RSPCA in England and Wales, to stop the practice of giving away pets, such as goldfish, as prizes. This includes calling for local councils to back an RSPCA motion to ban this practice in local areas.

However, the RSPCA does not cover Scotland and this campaign is targeted towards councils in England and Wales where different rules apply.

In Scotland pet prizes has been outlawed in Scotland since 2006.

Councillor Will Mylet told Renfrewshire News: “There have been a number of requests coming through to councillors asking us to stop the practice of giving away pets as prizes,”

“When I initially received the first of the emails on this subject, I forwarded it to the SSPCA who, quite rightly, highlighted that this practice has been outlawed in Scotland since 2006.

“It seems some people – with the best of intentions – have picked up a campaign that is not relevant to Scotland.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren added: “There was a long running issue with RSPCA advertising across the UK, confusing people into thinking they operate in Scotland. Even in current adverts, the RSPCA do not make it explicit that they have no role in Scotland. There was a major dispute between the two organisations but unfortunately the RSPCA still widely advertise in Scotland even though they provide no services here.

“In fact, the SSPCA has more powers as it is the only animal welfare charity in the United Kingdom that is a specialist reporting agency to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. This enables it to lay reports for prosecutions.

“It has also influenced the Scottish Parliament especially in relation to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 – which outlawed giving pets as prizes!”

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn told Renfrewshire News: “Pets are sentient beings and deserve far better than being used as prizes. Thankfully in Scotland, it has been a criminal offence to give an animal as a prize since 2006. This means that the likes of giving away a goldfish at a funfair is illegal.

“Scottish SPCA inspectors, Police Scotland or authorised individuals from a local authority have the power to investigate animals being given away as prizes. If anyone in Scotland comes across this, they can call our animal helpline in confidence on 03000 999 999.”

“We are delighted to see the RSPCA, which operates in England and Wales only, pushing for the current law in Scotland to be applied in a similar fashion across the rest of Great Britain and we wholeheartedly support their campaign.”