Adorable puppies, kittens or pets might be at the top of many Christmas wishlists, but Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) is reminding residents to think first about the long term commitment required to keep a pet throughout the year.
TRC Environmental Health portfolio leader Cr Joe Ramia said “Residents who were preparing to give a pet as a gift should ensure the person receiving the gift was prepared for the responsibility that goes with caring for them”.
‘Pets make wonderful Christmas gifts, but looking after new animals extends well beyond the festive season.
There is always lots of fun and excitement in the first days with a new pet. But after a while the excitement can start to wear off.
The kids go back to school, you're back at work, and the pet is growing very quickly, energetic, and is left home alone often for the first time.
“The three months after Christmas are some of the busiest for animal refuges receiving unwanted pets that had been given as gifts” Cr Ramia said.
“If you're considering giving someone a pet for Christmas please make sure you involve them in the process, don't make it a surprise and consider taking some time to research what breed or type of pet will best suit them or you” Cr Ramia said.
Purchasing a pet from the RSPCA is a good option. These animals are thoroughly health checked by a vet, desexed, microchipped, vaccinated and have been temperament tested.
Cr Ramia said "Pets rely on their owners for everything from food, health care, exercise, suitable fencing, housing and shelter, to love and interaction, so it's important to make sure the recipient of the gift or even you, yourself, are prepared for and can handle the financial and time commitment required”.
Owners if away from home should ensure that their cat or dog is contained and well cared for in their absence, including making sure they are well hydrated especially for those very hot days.
Cr Ramia said “One of the main concerns, especially over the holiday break period, is that pet owners often go away, some leave their animals at home with someone looking after them, others unfortunately just leave larger quantities of food and water out, provide no interaction or exercise for the animal and think this will be OK. But it is not!”.
Pets can fret when their owners are away, and this often leads to cats and dogs roaming.
“Dogs in particular if they have a lack of exercise and are bored can become a nuisance by continually whining and or barking, escape and roam”: Cr Ramia said.
‘Animals can also become agitated and scared during storms, loud noises like fireworks, music, thunder or parties, so make sure too they have somewhere to go so that they feel safe in this instance.
Cr Ramia said “Residents are being reminded that Councils Animal Registration and Microchipping Program will be continuing over the Christmas break period and random checks will be taking place in the region”.
“Penalties will be issued should your cat be found not microchipped and your dog not registered and microchipped. Farm or working dogs are not excluded from this unless appropriate documentation is provided to the Animal Management Officers showing they have been classified and or deemed working dogs. Pups are exempt till the age of 3 months” Cr Ramia said.
Over the Christmas break period, if you need to report a dog attack, wandering stock or missing pet, contact Council on 131 872.
Left to right: Cr Joe Ramia - Portfolio Leader Environment and Community, and Animal Management Officers Kim Armstrong and Tenielle Cooper.