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Adopt, don’t shop for pets

The festive season has a way of opening our hearts to all in need, and especially less fortunate animals get some well-deserved attention.

But during this period, unfortunately, horror stories surface to warn people against the dangers of giving pets as Christmas presents, as these animals are the ones who end up abandoned or neglected.

Paarl Post spoke to two local animal welfare organisations to better understand this. The SPCA’s Linda Groenewald said: “A Christmas present should be something special for that day, and not a loving creature the recipient must look after for the rest of their lives.”

She added many people are animal lovers, but do not realise the immense responsibility it takes to care for an animal for extented periods.

“It is also not to say that someone who loves animals will accept any animal as their own. People have their own preferences and know what they want, so rather don’t give animals as Christmas presents.”

Cheryl van der Walt, of the Drakenstein Animal Rescue (DAR), said people buy animals for other people but the receiver may not be ready for a pet. She said the DAR has experienced people buying beautiful puppies or kittens, which end up being abandoning when they grow older and are not “so cute” anymore.

Groenewald further explained that should members of the community be ready to commit to caring for a pet for the rest of their natural lives it is better to adopt.

“If you buy an animal you don’t know how healthy that animal is, or whether it has received all the necessary injections,” she said. “At the SPCA and other animal welfare organisations, animals are sterilised and vaccinated, and we can also give new owners advice about caring for their pets and elaborate on their health.”

Van der Walt said that animal shelters are overflowing with pets and she urges the community to support local SPCAs and other shelters. “You can acquire any breed if you go to the trouble, and not all SPCA animals are short-haired mongrels.”

For a healthy, sterilised animal at the SPCA one pays only R850, whereas at breeders the cost is substantially higher for unsterilised and unvaccinated animals. “The SPCA also gives a lost-and-found tag when an animal is adopted,” says Groenewald. “The SPCA has many animals that need loving.

During the festive season animals at the SPCA can be viewed from Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 16:00 and from 09:00 to 11:00 on Saturdays. The association is closed on public holidays. Paarl SPCA has an after-hours emergency number, 082 510 6387, or can be contacted on 021 863 2720 during office hours.

The DAR can be contacted on info@drakensteinanimalrescue.co.za or via Facebook Messenger.

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