Animals so wrong as an impulse buy

16:00, Dec 17 2013
Waiheke SPCA
LIFE-LONG COMPANIONS: Daytime foster carer Sonny Hape and SPCA Waiheke branch inspector manager Michell Sanders say animals like 8-year-old staffi-cross Lollipop, pictured, deserve long-term homes. ‘‘They are not plastic. They are not Christmas presents. They are forever,’’ Ms Sanders says.

"Every child wants a puppy or kitten."

That is the comment from an animal inspector who says she is shocked Auckland Council is encouraging people to adopt animals from its shelters as children's Christmas presents.

"A pet for Christmas? I think it encourages people to make rash and impulsive decisions," Waiheke SPCA centre manager and inspector Michell Sanders says.

The council has released a statement suggesting people should visit council animal shelters in the region where they can adopt animals.

"If a new family pet is at the top of the kids' Christmas list this year, why not visit one of Auckland Council's animal shelters and consider adopting any one of a number of animals looking for their forever homes right now," the statement says.

It goes on to say there are puppies and kittens as well as older animals available.


"Auckland Council encourages responsible ownership and welcomes enquiries from anyone who has the commitment and resources to take on a pet, not only for Christmas but for the rest of its life," the statement says.

But Ms Sanders is adamant that animals should not be adopted as Christmas presents.

"It should be a hard and well-thought about decision because it will have an impact on an animal's life for 15 to 20 years. It's no different from making a conscious decision to have another child."

She says the SPCA also has a stringent and rigorous pre-adoption system and people should be aware of how expensive it can be to keep pets.

"Vet bills, food, and monthly flea treatments all cost. People should budget around $100 a month for a dog, depending on size. A little bit less for a cat."

She says the SPCA has two animals needing homes - a dog and a cat. She is not encouraging people to adopt them for a children's pet at Christmas - but for life.

Auckland Council animal management manager Tracey Moore says the council is very aware a dog is for life and promotes the message at every opportunity.

"Auckland Council is committed to responsible dog ownership - this can be seen through our enforcement of the Dog Control Act and our work finding loving forever homes for animals that come into our care.

"We don't suggest giving a dog or puppy as a Christmas present unannounced but we know that some families do choose to get a dog or puppy at this time of year.

"If you have made the commitment to get a dog this Christmas, consider adopting one from our animal shelters," Ms Moore says.

"We work closely with the SPCA through a partnership based on our shared commitment to animal welfare."

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