Eran Yehudai, co-owner of Crowbank Kennels and Cattery near Glasgow
A couple running a kennels and cattery business have launched a national campaign calling for essential government support for the industry.
Called SOCKS – Save Our Catteries and Kennels – the campaign highlights the plight of cattery and kennel owners across the UK who are being ‘crushed out of existence’ by the coronavirus pandemic.
Fiona and Eran Yehudai of the Crowbank Kennels and Cattery near Glasgow have, like many others, suffered a drop in business due to clients being unable to holiday during the coronavirus pandemic. There is also less demand for pet day care as more and more people are working from home.
Fiona said: “We are an industry that is being really crushed out of existence. We’re just very, very stuck and there doesn’t seem to be a way forward.”
As the couple heard about others suffering the same plight they undertook their own survey of 150 cattery and kennel businesses and uncovered some horrifying statistics.
The survey revealed that 70% of these firms were facing a reduction in business of between 75% to 95%. Every respondent reported losing a substantial amount of business and 8% said they had lost everything.
Fiona said: “Many of these businesses are facing permanent closure and, financially, time is running out for them.
“This will obviously have a large knock-on effect for animal care and welfare as, when travel resumes, there will be a shortage of well-regulated, licensed care available for pet owners.”
The SOCKS campaign is calling for financial support to the same degree as other businesses in the hospitality, tourism and travel sectors, which have access to enhanced grants and tax rebates.
Fiona says that while many MPs already contacted have expressed ‘mild support’ it has not resulted in any action. She has been lobbying both the Scottish and UK Government since the autumn and the response has been from both that, since they were not legally required to close, they were excluded from the ‘substantial aid packages’ available those that were.
She has also set up a parliamentary petition, which so far has 25,000 signatures.
“At 10,000 signatures we received a response saying that we had adequate access to help, but the results of my survey contradict this statement!” said Fiona.
SOCKS has its own Facebook page, plus a website with resources to help supporters and a link to the online petition. Visit www.socks.org.uk