At this time of the year, I receive pleas from animal shelters for a donation or to foster an animal over the festive season. Christmas is not a time of joy but a time of crisis for animal shelters around Australia who are inundated with animal surrender.
Typically 4000 extra dogs and cats come into the RSPCA’s care between November and January according to SMH article: It’s raining kittens from cats in spring heat. RSPCA experienced a 300% increase in kitten intakes due to a surge in mating cats in September and October this year.
“As we continue to have milder winters and summer weather hits earlier each year we will continue to see kitten season activate earlier, placing stress on our shelters and foster care resources at an already busy time of the year,’ said RSPCA’s Lukas Picton.
Pets end up at animal shelters because they run away during the fireworks on New Year’s Eve and Australia Day. The Sydney Dogs and Cats Home said that they expect to see 100 dogs and cats in the week between Christmas and New Year mostly from pets that have become lost due to fireworks or gates being left open. Fortunately, some of these animals are reunited with their owners but for those cats and dogs that are not reclaimed, they are taken in by the shelter and foster networks.
Sadly many animals are surrendered at this time of the year because holidaymakers don’t want to pay boarding costs or the novelty of last year’s Christmas pet had worn off.
“Some people even tell us that they are happy to come back after their vacation and if their animal is still with us, they will adopt it back. It’s very sad,” said Steve Coleman, CEO RSPCA in a letter to donors.
3 steps to avoid animal surrender
If you are thinking of getting a puppy or kitten for Christmas, here are 3 steps to help you prevent animal surrender.
1. Stop before you shop – think carefully about what you are taking on before you get a pet
3. Give your pet a good life for its entire lifetime – ensure you can fulfil your pet’s needs and wants