By Derek Schlennstedt
A pet for Christmas is often a popular choice, though as they become bigger and harder to control their appeal suddenly begins to wane.
This it seems is a common occurrence following Christmas and Elle Amman, Spokesperson at Animal Aid Coldstream said the shelter has also bore the brunt of much of that post-Christmas pet fallout.
“We find there is in increase in surrendered animals during the holiday period. Starting from mid-December the frequency of animals surrendered to us has increased,” Ms Amman said.
“Every animal comes to Animal Aid under unique circumstances, some of the most common are family has a new baby, owner is in poor health, relationship breakdown, housing restrictions, don’t have time to care for them … we can see that the holiday period is for many families a time of increased stress, and unfortunately it is often the animals that suffer.”
Since Christmas animal aid had been inundated with 60 kittens, 19 dogs and puppies and 5 guinea pigs – all surrendered from their owners.
These surrenders are part of a growing trend which is staggered throughout the rest of the year as many dogs are received by the Animal Aid around the age of 6 months, when they become too big and boisterous to cope with.
“We find that dogs often come to us at about 6 to 9 months of age,” Ms Amman said.
“Unfortunately some families don’t understand the needs and costs associated with maturing dog. Dogs in this age range are quickly exiting puppy hood, they are bigger and more energetic, they may also become destructive and challenge your leadership … we encourage everyone who has a puppy, to research the breed and make sure you are prepared to supply them with what they need.”
The Rabbit Runaway orphanage in Sassafras is also experiencing the post-Christmas fallout and has received over 40 rabbits in the past two weeks.
“We’ve had rabbits coming out of our ears … calls from all the shelters and pounds that are just over flowing,” owner of the orphanage Judi Inglis said.
But for some it is also the busiest time and Elle Amman confirmed that while surrenders were high, so too were the number of adoptions.
“We find that even though more animals are in our care, our rates of adoption around this time are also higher. The demand for our family friendly dogs and kittens is so high they often don’t even make it to our website.”