What not to give this Christmas
  • Thursday 18 December 2014

Still searching for a last minute Christmas present? Well, forget about giving a cat or dog as a gift.

Sunshine Coast Council Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said pets were a serious financial and time commitment and should never be purchased, adopted or given as a snap decision.

“Cats and dogs can provide unconditional love and play an important part of the family but they are also a huge long term responsibility,” Cr McKay said.

“Your pet relies on you for everything: food, shelter, healthcare, exercise and companionship so making the choice to become a pet owner requires careful consideration.

“As well as being responsible for their wellbeing, you also need to ensure they do not provide a nuisance to other members of the community, both the four and two legged kind.”

Cr McKay said if you decide it is the right time to bring a pet into your family, do your homework first.

“For your own good and that of your future pet, there are some important factors you need to take into account to ensure you can look forward to many happy years together,” she said.

“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 .

“Once you are armed with this information and ready to find your new furry friend, please remember to check with an animal refuge first, such as Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge, 4Paws or RSPCA.”

SCARS Manager Jody Blackburn said they had cats and dogs of all different sizes, breeds and temperaments looking for a forever home.

“The great thing about pets from SCARS is they have all been health and temperament assessed, are up-to-date with vaccinations, desexed and microchipped,” Ms Blackburn said.

“We are brimming with so many beautiful natured cats and dogs right now, all ready and waiting for a second chance to go to a loving home.

“Many of them are here because their owners did not do their research first when considering getting a pet. We really try to focus on matching the needs of the cats and dogs with the circumstances and lifestyle of their potential new owner.”