Unwanted pets or irresponsible owners?
  • Thursday 09 April 2015

Easter on the Sunshine Coast was not a happy family time for a large number of pets.

With more than 30 cats and dogs impounded over a five-day period, more than double the number picked up or abandoned over the same period last year, Sunshine Coast Council is asking residents to make informed choices when taking on the responsibility of a pet.

Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said council’s Sippy Creek Animal Pound received 34 animals between April 2-7 with 11 cats and 18 dogs found roaming and two cats and three dogs surrendered.

“This figure is more than double that of the same Easter period last year (April 17-22) when 14 animals were impounded and clearly demonstrates that pet owners are not taking their responsibilities seriously,” Cr McKay said.

“Council officers always first try to return an animal found roaming rather than take it to the pound.

"However, to do this registration and microchipping information must be kept up to date and the animal tagged or microchipped otherwise officers have no choice but to impound what is usually somebody’s much loved pet.”

Cr McKay said of the 29 animals found roaming over Easter, 20 were microchipped but the details were incorrect.

She said that the reason many family pets end up in the pound is because owners did not do their homework first.

“Cats and dogs can provide unconditional love and play an important part of the family, but they are also a serious financial and time commitment,” she said.

“They rely on their owner for everything - food, shelter, healthcare, exercise and companionship - so they should not be given as a gift or be the result of a snap decision to adopt or purchase.”

Some of the key questions prospective owners need to consider before committing to bringing home a cat or a dog include:

• Type of pet – cat or dog?
• Age of pet – kitten or puppy, or adult cat or dog, and what’s involved with each?
• Pets allowed – are pets permitted in your type of dwelling?
• Pet size and temperament – what pet traits would best suit your lifestyle, your family and your circumstances?
• Property size – would there be sufficient space for a pet and its needs?
• Containment – could you appropriately contain a pet?
• Income – could you adequately afford a pet for a lifespan of 15+ years, including unplanned vet bills?
• Time – would you have sufficient time to train and exercise your pet, and provide company and attention?
• Local Laws – do you understand what would be required of you as a pet owner, and could you comply with this?
• Acquiring a pet – have you investigated options for sourcing a pet that suits your circumstances? Have you checked animal shelters? Have you investigated reputable breeders?

For further tips and advice about selecting the right pet for you, your family and your circumstances, see Council’s Domestic Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Strategy 2014-2020 available at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

Council works very closely with the Australian Veterinary Association, RSPCA, Sippy Creek Animal Refuge and 4Paws to encourage responsible pet ownership throughout the region and assist with the rehoming of our unwanted four-legged friends.