SNP MSP Emma Roddick caught up with some four-legged friends during a meeting with Dogs Against Drugs Shetland, telling the charity she was behind their calls for funding and writing to the new Cabinet Secretary for Justice to urge action.
The charity, which was set up in 2002 by the people in Shetland in an effort to safeguard communities from illegal drugs being smuggled into the islands, has come up against issues with funding criteria which Ms Roddick claims fail to recognise the island-specific way Dogs Against Drugs operates in.
Dogs Against Drugs Shetland currently has 5 working dogs that work to detect drugs coming in by ferry or flight before they reach the community. The charity also delivers drug education to schools, businesses, and organisations.
Speaking on her visit, Ms Roddick said:
“The work Dogs Against Drugs carry out here in the Shetland is vital in helping to prevent harmful substances from entering communities. Funding bodies need to recognise that, while detecting and deterring drugs at airports and ferry terminals may have less success in most mainland communities where there are lots of alternative routes in, Dogs Against Drugs does incredible work in preventing drugs from getting to the isles in the first place.
“It was also great to hear about all the work they’ve been doing in the community to educate folk of all ages on harmful drug use and the devastating impact it can have on people and their families. With community welfare at their core, the charity is encouraging people here in Shetland to engage in discussion and debate, which is so important.
“I am so grateful to the team at Dogs Against Drugs for taking the time to speak to me and of course the dogs – that are now a lot bigger than they were on my last visit in 2021 – for showing me the work they do. I have written to the new Cabinet Secretary for Justice and I hope that we can see some movement soon on gaining deserved financial support for the team.”