Giving a Pet for Christmas is Not a Good Idea

Neddy and Gemma (greyhounds) in a photo taken with their rescue sister Mootha in 2010.
Neddy and Gemma (greyhounds) in a photo taken with their rescue sister Mootha in 2010.

Christmas is an exciting time of year for many families in the community.

People considering gifting a pet to a friend or family member are encouraged to make sure that the person on the receiving end is prepared – financially, timewise, and emotionally – to look after the animal.

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Ms Julie McKimm, local pet sitter and sometime rescuer, told Medowie News Of The Area, “This time of year is particularly hard for our furry friends and their families.”

“Quite often it’s seen that with no forward planning into the responsibility of owning a pet for life, they [get] dumped at the pound for simple reasons such as the family couldn’t find a pet sitter while they went on holidays, or the puppy grew out of its cuteness.”

People can make the mistake of giving a pet to a child, who has neither the financial means or understanding of how to look after an animal, so the responsibility falls on the parent.

If the parent does not want to take on this responsibility, this can result in the pet being dumped, rendering it homeless and ownerless.

The consequences for a puppy or kitten that finds itself without an owner after the festive season, and the realities of pet ownership, can be quite dire.

Figures from the RSPCA show that for the 2013-2014 year, over 22 800 dogs and cats were euthanised in Australia by this organisation alone.

While this number, in its entirety, cannot be attributed to pets as unwanted gifts, it is a sobering reminder of the situation that many pets find themselves in.

Those considering pet ownership are encouraged to research the suitability of the pet for their household’s situation, the cost of owning a pet including Vet bills, whether they are prepared to look after the pet for the duration of its lifespan, and whether they are prepared to train the pet after the cute puppy or kitten phase is well and truly over.

By Heather SHARP

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