ABC News, Mon 4th Jan 2010
Canberra’s RSPCA received a record number of domestic animals in December.
More than 600 pets were surrendered to the animal shelter by their owners last month.
Young rabbits, mice, rats and kittens were the most common animals given up.
RSPCA spokesman Michael Linke says it is frustrating when owners dump their pets simply because they have not organised anyone to care for them while they go on holidays.
“It seems odd to us but it does happen,” he said.
“People don’t make arrangements, people forget to book in a house-sitter or forget to book into a local cattery or kennelling facility.
“Then all of a sudden it gets to a couple of days before their holidays, they have no idea what to do with their animal so they take the easy option and leave it at RSPCA.”
Mr Linke says many of those owners will purchase new animals.
“Invariably those people will then go to a pet shop or go to a classified advert in the new year and acquire a new pet,” he said.
“Nine times out of 10 that pet won’t be de-sexed and the breeding cycle will continue and next December again RSPCA will see large volumes of animals.
“We’re hoping to try and solicit some change of this attitude over time.”
Mr Linke says there is also a feline population explosion in Canberra at the moment.
The animal shelter is overrun by 250 abandoned cats and kittens with another 150 cats in foster homes.
It is a problem every summer breeding season but this year numbers are up 20 per cent.
Mr Linke says the mild winter played a part in the population boom but lax enforcement of desexing laws is also to blame.
“Cats need to be desexed by the time they’re three months old,” he said.
“Our concern is a lot of cats sold through the newspaper, a lot of cats being sold in pet shops, are being sold un-desexed.”
Mr Linke says more enclosures are being built to deal with the influx and all of the animals will be looked after for as long as it takes to find them new homes.
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