When a homeless person goes into temporary accommodation, the council has a statutory duty to look after their personal belongings – this includes their beloved pets.
According to the council, the monthly number of pets fluctuates between 38 and 50. People are generally in temporary accommodation for between 18 and 24 months, meaning some pets are housed in kennels for up to two years.
Currently, the council pays for 19 dogs and 19 cats to be housed – although it has also had to house snakes.
Pets are allowed into council and commissioned temporary accommodation (mainly flats) with the landlord’s permission – however, some landlords withhold permission.
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There is an element of shared supported accommodation which accepts pets.
A temporary accommodation resident has to accept responsibility for their pet and ensure that it does not create a nuisance to other residents or service providers.
An Edinburgh City Council spokesperson said: “We have a statutory duty to store household goods when people stay in temporary accommodation.
“In Edinburgh we also consider it important to take care of pets as part of this – we know they can be much-loved members of families.
“In many situations, pets are allowed in council and commissioned temporary accommodation too, with landlords’ permission, helping ensure residents’ wellbeing.
“We’ve also developed direct access ‘rapid access accommodation’ services for rough sleepers where pets can stay, removing a potential barrier to accommodation access, support and permanent re-housing for very vulnerable people.”
Now, the council is advertising for businesses to bid on a contract to be the city’s kennel provider.
The contract notice reads: “The service does not currently allow pets to be taken into temporary accommodation properties so in order to make provision for the kennelling of cats, dogs and other pets the council is required to make suitable arrangements to provide kennelling services, until individuals are able to care for their pets again.
Kennelling of pets aims to provide suitable animal boarding accommodation, good and safe facilities, and a contractual agreement that will enhance service delivery.
“The service provider(s) is to provide boarding/kennelling services on behalf of the council.
“The service provider(s) will be expected to accommodate a range of animals including, but not limited to: dogs, cats and small animals.
“Pets should have access to a clean/wholesome source of drinking water and are to be supplied with food which is nutritionally suitable based on the type of pet and its age, size, health and any special dietary requirements.
“The council will normally refer service users to the service provider(s) between 08.30 and 17.30 Mondays to Thursdays and 08.30 and 16.30 on Fridays.”
However, the council will not confirm how much the contract is worth for ‘commercial reasons’.
Many of the city’s homeless and abandoned dogs and cats end up at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.
Founded in 1883, the Seafield site works in partnership with police and local authorities to rescue, reunite and rehome lost, stray and abandoned dogs and cats across Edinburgh and the Lothians.