Pets are good pets but not as a surprise
WITH only two more sleeps until Christmas many children around the country are hoping Santa will bring them a family pet.
While RSPCA Australia, the animal welfare agency, traditionally urges parents to reconsider buying a pet as a gift, this year the message is different.
A spokesman for RSPCA Australia said the organisation had taken a different stance this year in an effort to encourage people thinking about buying a pet over Christmas to adopt one from the RSPCA.
‘‘Previously, we have said not to buy a pet as a Christmas gift, so people will go to backyard dealers or pet shops because they don’t want a lecture from us,’’ she said.
‘‘This year we are saying that a pet can be a great addition to a family as long as it is not a surprise gift.
‘‘Christmas can be an ideal time to purchase a pet because children on holidays can learn about the responsibility ofhaving a pet and really bond with it.’’
RSPCA shelters around Australia receive a large influx of unwanted pets in the post-Christmas period.
‘‘People realise that they have taken on a life-long commitment, something they were never prepared for,’’ an RSPCA spokeswoman said.
‘‘Adopting a pet at Christmas or any other time should never be considered before the potential owner has thought long and hard about the time, money, space and energy that pet ownership entails, and whether they are willing and able to accept these responsibilities.’’
The total number of animals accepted into the RSPCA increased by 11 per cent in 2006 from the previous year, with a total number of 146,821 animals.
The number ofdogs euthanased increased by 896 in 2006.
However the number ofcats euthanased declined by 1931.
The shelter supervisor at the RSPCA head office in Yagoona, Bethany Amies, said the increase in the number of animals this year could be attributed to an early kitten breeding season.