ACT Rescue and Foster (ARF) president Wendy Parsons’ message for families wanting puppies at Christmas is simple.
“Don’t impulse buy puppies if you don’t know anything about the dogs at all,” she said.
Every year puppies are left abandoned at the RSPCA or taken to the pound after the festive season.
Ms Parsons said the ARF, which rescues dogs on death row and provides a temporary home for them with a foster carer, noticed an increase of abandoned dogs a few months after Christmas.
“If you’re not a licensed breeder, get your dog desexed,” she said.
Ms Parsons said many dog owners did not know they could face up to a $5000 fine if their animal was not desexed.
Every year the ARF relies on volunteers and donations to ensure they continue their work of rescuing dogs and finding loving, permanent homes for them.
For the second year, Queanbeyan’s Riverside Plaza encouraged families to bring their pets to the centre for a photo with Santa last month; to raise some much needed funds for the ARF.
A variety of photo packages were on offer, with $5 from every bundle donated to the local cause.
Ms Parsons said the organisation received about $200 from the event, including boxes filled with dog food.
We were very grateful for that,’ she said.
Currently the ARF rehomes up to 140 dogs a year and is expected to reach its 2000th rescue next year.
The organisation receives a list of dogs due for euthanasia from the Queanbeyan and Canberra pounds.
The Queanbeyan pound keeps dogs for three weeks, while the Canberra pound houses them for a week before they go on death row.
“We have a terrific relationship with Queanbeyan pound,” Ms Parsons said.
Our main foster carers are from Queanbeyan.” Once the dogs are rescued, they are temperament tested and given a rating as to whether they can be rehomed.
If they can be, the foster carer then decides whether to house the animal and the ARF provides them with vet care and costs.
Ms Parsons said the organisation currently had 25 foster carers, but more were needed.
There are a number of rules and procedures carers must follow to act in the ARF’s and the dog’s best interests.
The organisation provides a mentoring system for new foster carers and has a foster carer support officer on hand to offer advice and aul.tance.
Rescued dogs could live with their carers for a matter of weeks, or it could be months before a new home is found.
“It’s the foster carer’s discretion as to where the dog goes,” Ms Parsons ARF registered carer Paulene Bennett has housed hundreds of dogs over the years.
She has been looking after a fouryear-old Stafford Shire Bull Terrier cross for three weeks named Mirrigann, meaning beautiful dog’ in Wajarri.
“He’s an inside dog, he’s house trained and obedient,” Ms Bennett “[But] I’ll wait for the right person.” For more information about the ARF, or to make a donation, visit http://www.fosterdogs.org.