Pets are more than hol­i­day gifts: RSPCA

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS -

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.

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