Pets are more than holiday gifts: RSPCA
RSPCA WA is warning people against impulse buying a pet this Christmas — whether for their own family or as a gift for someone else.
While cute and cuddly, pets generally require a commitment of 12-15 years — some even longer — and RSPCA WA is encouraging the public to think carefully before deciding to get a pet as a Christmas gift.
Researching the type of animal you want, what level of care it would require, and the ongoing costs for care and veterinary bills, is an important first step before purchasing an animal.
RSPCA WA community engagement executive manager Maree Daniels said pets given as unwanted or surprise Christmas gifts could often end up abandoned weeks or months later.
“With many people having time off work over Christmas, it can actually be a great time to welcome a pet, as there’s extra time for them to settle in and bond with you,” she said.
“However, getting a pet is a big responsibility and should never be an impulse purchase.
“Pets are living, breathing and sensitive creatures and should never be treated as objects.”
Ms Daniels said there was much more to owning a pet than meeting needs for food and shelter.
“You need to exercise them daily, take them to training and provide mental stimulation to keep them happy,” she said.
“Pets also need to be protected from parasites and disease, taken for regular vet check-ups and covered by adequate pet insurance.
“If you don’t know what to buy the animal lover in your life for Christmas, why not make a donation on their behalf to an animal welfare or rescue organisation.”
In the 2017-18 financial year, 950 animals were surrendered to RSPCA WA for a number of reasons, but for many it was due to owners being unable to afford vet care.
Ms Daniels said she hoped anyone who had carefully thought about a new furry family member for Christmas would adopt through welfare and rescue groups.