THINK before giving your child a puppy as a present this Christmas, warns the Animal Welfare Society (AWS).
AWS general manager Mark Mullan said parents did not think ahead before buying pets which usually ended up being an unwanted gift.
“The puppy is cute, but within a year it has grown and the child doesn’t want it anymore,” said Mullan.
He said parents also soon realised dogs were costly because they were a lifetime commitment.
If people decide to buy pets they should adopt one from the AWS instead of a pet shop or breeder, added Mullan.
AWS currently has 168 dogs and 105 cats in need of a good home. A big problem during the festive season was the dumping of pets at their facility.
“People don’t want to pay kennelling fees so they abandon their dogs or cats here,” said Mullan.
Animal Welfare chief inspector Hannes Stander said another common problem was people who brought in “stray” animals before the holidays.
He said they lied and said they picked up the animal when in fact it was their pet.
“They expect us to look after their pets and think they can pick them up when they get back from holiday,” said Stander.
But according to legislation strays have to be kept for one week before euthanasia becomes a option.
They encourage people to get reliable pet-sitters because dogs tend to get frustrated if the owners are away and try to get out of the yard.
The AWS go on regular “cruelty checks” to make sure animals are being fed and have water. If animals have been left alone, the AWS team feeds them.
The AWS will have their hands full this month as they are expecting an increase of stray and injured animals coming in, especially after hours.
He added that fireworks during the opening of the season would also result in runaways.
AWS suggests pet owners buy a collar or a micro chip containing all the owner’s details.
Microchipping, which can be done at the AWS, costs R190.
“Make looking after your pets part of your holiday plans,” urged Mullan.
The Animal Welfare Society is in desperate need of dog and cat food during December. Anyone willing to donate can visit their premises on Victoria Drive, or call (041)366-1660/1.