Sydney Central; 8 Dec 10 Aimee Scott
The gift of a pet can bring joy, and animal welfare advocates, including NSW Independent MP and Lord Mayor Clover Moore, are encouraging people to rescue a dog or cat from a shelter rather than buying from a pet shop this Christmas.
“We have thousands of wonderful animals in our shelters and pounds and it would be really terrific if they could be the first port of call for someone who wants a pet,” Cr Moore said.
According to the RSPCA, about 95 per cent of puppies in pet shops come from puppy factories, and these animals often have long-term behavioural and health problems, which result in them being dumped or surrendered to a shelter. About 60,000 dogs and cats are destroyed each year in NSW. Marianne Zander of the RSPCA said it is vital to know where the animal you are buying came from, and the best way to do this is to adopt from a shelter or registered breeder. She said it is important to ensure that the person you are giving a pet to is prepared for the lifelong commitment.
“People are often given puppies or kittens that are abandoned or surrendered as soon as they grow out of their adorable stage,” Ms Zander said.
Cr Moore doesn’t just recommend rescuing an abandoned animal. She does it herself. She and her family have two Staffordshire terriers – Banjo and Bessy, a puppy they just adopted from Staffy Rescue. “Bessy was part of a litter, whose mother was abandoned about two hours before the pups were born because the owner didn’t want to pay to look after them,” she said.
Cr Moore has been fighting to stop the sale of cats and dogs in pet shops and has recently submitted yet another petition to Parliament calling for a ban. “My Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill would ban the sale of animals in pet shops and markets to reduce impulse buying, which is responsible for many ill-considered pet purchases. The Bill would promote purchases from more responsible sources such as registered breeders and animal shelters.” she said.
SYDNEY’S OWN POUND
Sydney Council last year entered into a partnership with the Sutherland Animal Shelter to rehome abandoned or stray animals found in the city.
The council provided $300,000 for a major upgrade of facilities at the shelter, which has one of Australia’s lowest animal euthanasia rates, in keeping with the council’s rehoming and no-kill policy, a council spokesperson said.
“Animals are only euthanised as a last resort, after a thorough assessment process – if their owner can’t be identified and if they are considered to be feral, seriously ill or dangerous,” the spokesperson said.
The Sylvania Veterinary Clinic provides health checks, veterinary treatments and desexing services. The shelter’s volunteers exercise, groom and play with the animals every day.
About 195 pets have either been reclaimed by their owners or rehomed with a new owner since the partnership began.
The council also recently launched its Adopt A Pet website to encourage people who can offer a dog or cat a loving home for the rest of its life to consider rescuing a pet from the shelter.