IF you are thinking of giving a pet as a gift this Christmas, forget the surprise element and first ask the recipient if they would like one.
That is the heartfelt advice of Gympie RSPCA workers who say too many unwanted animals, originally purchased as presents, are handed in to them after Christmas.
“Ask them first or they’ll probably bring it here and tell you it ran away,” said Gympie shelter manager Rebecca Brazier.
The message is backed by Gympie councillor Julie Walker, obedience trainer Kate Butterworth, and council enforcement officer Ron Potter, who spoke of the greater responsibility placed on pet owners by new State Government legislation, requiring all new pets in Queensland to be microchipped.
“The legislation has been in effect since December 12,” Cr Walker said.
It requires any new cats or dogs given away or sold, to be microchipped and registered with council.
Cr Walker said the region had been subject to compulsory car registration by-laws for years.
“There was a little bit of a backlash at first, but people accepted it.”
“Dog registration came in 2003.”
The RSPCA also wants pet owners to remember their animal friends when it comes to Christmas celebrations. They say a lot of human food, including anything with onions or chocolate, can be highly toxic to pets.
According to recently-released research by PawClub.com.au, 72 per cent of dog owners admit to feeding their dog under the Christmas table, and 84 per cent revealed they will have a present under the tree for their pooch.
The study, conducted by the Pfizer Animal Health website, surveyed more than 300 dog owners across Australia. But a bit extra at Christmas won’t hurt, they say, adding that 12 per cent of owners admit their dogs gain weight at Christmas.