Colin Smyth joined the Scottish SPCA on patrol across Ayrshire last week.

The South Scotland MSP spent the day with Scottish SPCA Inspector Katie McIntyre to learn about the work they carry out across Ayrshire to protect animals and pets from harm.

He also met with Scottish SPCA Chief Executive Kirsteen Campbell and Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn before touring the Ayr Animal and Rehoming Centre with manager, Marion Hainey.

Colin met Maddi who is a 14-year-old crossbreed, one of the many animals at the centre who has recently been rehoused. Maddi’s previous owners could unfortunately no longer look after her.

The centre is home to a range of animals from Pablo the corn snake, who has been looked after at the centre for the past 21 months to Dec the ferret.

The MSP urged people considering a pet to make the rehoming centre their first port of call and warned against people buying pets online.

He also urged local people to report any instances of injured animals or evidence of animal cruelty to the SSPCA to investigate

said: “Thanks to the Scottish SPCA for showing me round their Ayr Centre and to their inspectorate team for taking me out to see the vital work they do to keep animals safe across Ayrshire.

“If anyone in Ayrshire is considering a new pet, I would urge them to make the rehoming centre their first point of call. We read every day about people buying a new pet online and ending up with an animal bred on a puppy farm in poor conditions. Often the puppies have huge medical problems that can be hidden, and families don’t realise until it’s too late. They are either faced with huge vets bills or the animals themselves can be so ill, they die, causing heartache for their new family.”

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn added: “We’ve responded to thousands of reports of animals in need across the south of Scotland so far in 2019 so it was a real pleasure to welcome Colin to our Ayrshire centre to provide him with an in-depth experience of the work of our dedicated staff. It’s great to see Colin offer such strong support for our work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in his local area.”