‘Paws Clause’: Labour Announce Plan to Allow Elderly and Vulnerable To Keep Pets

Scottish Labour has announced a plan today for a ‘paws clause’ that would allow the elderly, vulnerable, and homeless to keep their pets in temporary accommodation and care homes.

Claudia Beamish MSP, Labour’s Environment, Climate and Land spokesperson, wants pets remaining with their owners to become the ‘default position’, and for separation to only occur where pets present a clear danger. Rules restricting pet ownership fail to recognise that for tenants this is a home, and for many, pets are part of their family.

A study by Anchor has revealed that one in five older people wish they were allowed to have a pet, and that dogs and cats are often the only company available to the elderly. Evidence indicates that pets might also help sufferers from dementia.

Commenting on the proposal, Claudia Beamish said:

“For so many, our pets are treasured members of the family, but in many circumstances transitional and new living arrangements can risk splitting people up from their furry friends.

“Whether it is having limited choices in rented accommodation, moving into a care home or sheltered housing, or seeking temporary accommodation for the homeless – all of these people should have the right to keep their beloved pets by their side. This can be distressing for animal and owner, and can add to our already overcrowded local rehoming centres.

“In consultation with landlords, tenants, care home and temporary accommodation providers, and advocate groups, Scottish Labour will assess the possibility of people keeping their pets as default.

“At a recent visit to supported accommodation that permits pets, I saw the heart-warming benefit Mindy the dog brought to the tenants. A pet like Mindy can keep someone fit and get them outside regularly, keep a sense of independence, and provide an invaluable comfort to all.”

One care home which bucks the trend is Cowan Court in Midlothian. Anthea Fraser, a service Manager at the residency was highly supportive of the ‘paws clause’ idea:

“It’s about engaging with our tenants and meeting all of their outcomes. We want to create a home from home, so if it’s important to an individual to bring their pet, or even to adopt a new pet, we support and enable them to do so. We have a person centred approach, and the staff here have all adopted and embraced that philosophy.”



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