Pets aren’t presents to be left under the tree

FOR LIFE: Albury Wodonga Animal Rescue's Ella Bloomfield says pets are for life, and shouldn't be given as presents. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
FOR LIFE: Albury Wodonga Animal Rescue's Ella Bloomfield says pets are for life, and shouldn't be given as presents. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Every year, about three months after Christmas, Albury-Wodonga Rescue receives a present it never looks forward to – an influx of rejected and dejected puppies and kittens. 

Ella Bloomfield said like clockwork, the rescue becomes inundated with kittens who grew out of their ‘cuteness’ or puppies with behaviourial problems because they were never trained.

Ms Bloomsfield said many of the animals were given as gifts, but never truly wanted by their new owner and therefore did not get the attention needed. 

“It’s generally okay for parents to buy their children pets when they live at home, but when most people give pets to others as a gift, those pets usually come to a shelter in three months’ time,” she said.

“Puppies aren’t puppies anymore, and kittens aren’t kittens anymore.

“Sometimes it’s because of their size, sometimes they never wanted it and someone about it for them and they don’t have much time and they weren’t really wanting a pet it was just given.

“Sometimes we get people surrendering their pets a few months after Christmas because they’re going away and don’t want to pay for boarding.”

Ms Bloomfield said they do not allow people to rescue pets as ‘gifts’ unless it is a family rescuing the pet for their at-home children. 

She said pets were not a holiday present, they were a serious commitment.

“It’s really sad,” she said.

“Some people surrender them because they’re going a way for six weeks.

“Pets are for a lifetime, for their whole lifetime, that’s what you need to commit too.

“For 12 or 15 years they need you and you need to look after them, not just while they’re puppies or kittens.”

Ms Bloomfield said it wasn’t fair to the person, or to a pet, when someone decided to gift them an animal they weren’t prepared for. 

“To me a dog or cat needs to choose their person as much as people choose a pet,” she said.

“Pets are all very unique and just because you think one is cute, doesn’t mean your friend will or that they’ll be willing to spend the time or money the pet deserves.”

Ms Bloomfield said people should do their research before adopting a puppy or kitten, know how big the animal will grown, how needy they will be and potential costs of boarding or veterinary bills. 

Ms Bloomfield said it’s also important to look after your pets during parties this festive season.

She said pets should always have somewhere quite and safe to go to if guests were over and should be kept away from areas where food or drink might be spilled.