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A fresh start for the SSPCA

The SSPCA lasses Louise Sales (right) and Terresa Leask ready to look after animal welfare in the isles. Photo BBC Radio Shetland

ANIMAL charity Scottish SPCA is getting a fresh start in Shetland with two new staff following the retirement of senior inspector Ron Patterson earlier this year.

Louise Sales, from Burra, has stepped up to the post of inspector after spending six years as Patterson’s auxiliary in the isles.

The 34 year old, who has just completed five months intensive training on the mainland, said she was “excited and enthusiastic” about taking up the job.

Sales is joined on a part-time basis by 28 year old Terresa Leask, from Sandwick, who packed in her post as office manager with Shetland Silvercraft to combine her twin passions of working with animals and for charities.

The pair take over in Shetland following a difficult period when the SSPCA closed its wildlife rescue unit in Gott against huge local opposition.

Louise and Terresa with the new Dogs Against Drugs puppies Thor and Zeus at Sumburgh airport this week. Photo BBC Radio Shetland

Sales will work from a base in Burra where she has facilities for animals to be rehabilitated locally. She also has three horses of her own she looks after.

She said that while she received a solid grounding in animal welfare during her years working with Patterson in Shetland, she has gained new confidence over the past few months.

“Ron gave me loads of training in the six years I was an auxiliary and the knowledge I have now is all based on what Ron showed me and how he did things, and I will carry on with that” she said.

“The training down south was full time and quite intense, but it’s given me the experience I need to put prosecution cases together for animal cruelty.

“I was going out and shadowing inspectors working in Glasgow as well as covering areas on my own.

“I also trained at Fishcross working with otters, seals, birds and hedgehogs with Romain Pizzi, a hugely knowledgable vet who also works for Edinburgh Zoo.” 

Both Sales and Leask were brought up on crofts where they developed a passion for working with animals.

Leask said she was excited about the career change, but will keep up her other charity work for Mary’s Meals and the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Anyone with any concerns for animal welfare can contact the local SSPCA officers via the national helpline on 03000 999 999.