Whitlesea Leader; Cheryl Balfour; 18 dec 2010
THERE are heartbreaking stories behind the gates of the Epping RSPCA shelter.
Animal carers are getting ready for what is arguably the most distressing time of year for them – when cuddly Christmas gifts in the form of animals are abandoned because they are no longer wanted as the novelty has worn off.
Just three weeks ago, two emaciated dogs were dumped inside the shelter gates.
“People buy a puppy for Christmas and don’t realise it’s a dog by next Christmas,” Epping shelter supervisor Joanna Skrodzka said.
“Pets are not for Christmas Day only. They are a lifetime companion, for 10, 15 maybe 20 years, so think very carefully before choosing one.”
This year, more than 1500 unwanted dogs and cats were found wandering the streets and taken to the shelter or callously dumped inside the shelter compound.
About 16,000 pets will have been rescued by the RSPCA across Victoria by the end of the year, and Christmas is one of the worst times.
“It’s an increasing problem in Epping with still so many animals brought to the shelter,” Ms Skrodzka said. “During the holiday season, people’s circumstances change, they’re moving, going on holiday, perhaps there is a lack of resources and they can’t care for their animals.”
She urged families to think twice before giving pets as Christmas presents. “If you do want one, avoid buying them from pet shops because most are provided by puppy factories,” she said.
She reminded residents to consider the effects heat and noise could have on their pets this holiday season.
To donate or view animals needing new homes this Christmas, go to rspcavic.org