South Africa

SPCA's holiday plea for pet owners on vacation

SPCA's holiday plea for pet owners on vacation
Durban - More than 900 cats and 650 dogs were taken into the SPCA Durban and Coast facility last month, with the number of abandoned and stray animals being dropped off expected to rise this month.

Families do not put proper plans in place to care for pets while away on holiday, and the ever-increasing cost of living add to their financial strain, with pets being put out on the street, deemed too expensive to keep.

Kennel manager Juliet Chetty said that although SPCA Durban’s boarding facility was fully booked for the festive season, she urged residents to not abandon their pets.

“It’s necessary to plan way in advance for the holiday season and our bookings start as early as April. Having a pet is just like having a child. A pet requires not only food, but also lots of attention and love, grooming and medication,” she said.

Chetty urged owners to microchip pets when possible or, alternatively, to ensure contact details on collars.

“Microchipping is the most secure method of identification, as long as the contact details remain updated on the database,” she said.

SPCA Durban and Coast marketing manager Tanya Fleischer said people who were going away who would be using the services of a pet-sitter can email their name, telephone number and address to [email protected] so the SPCA knows who to contact should they receive any messages from concerned neighbours.

“If you don’t have a pet-sitter, please use a reputable boarding kennel or cattery to house your furry kids while you’re away,” said Fleischer.

Kloof and Highway SPCA spokesperson Brigitte Ferguson said last December, 1077 animals had been admitted to the facility. She added that more than 60% were pets no longer wanted by their owners.

“There are various reasons that pets are surrendered during the year, but over the festive season we experience a larger number of pets being surrendered for various reasons; such as being an inconvenience to their owners who are travelling during that time, families buying new pets, especially puppies and then surrendering their older pets who are no longer wanted, as well as pets being left in the care of house-sitters who do not take adequate care of them,” said Ferguson.

With the festive season starting this week after schools broke up, Ferguson urged people to put proper precautions in place to ensure pets were taken care of while they are away, microchipping as well as necessary calming medications for fireworks over New Year.

“We remind members of the public that a pet is a lifelong commitment and a puppy or kitten will grow into an adult who will need continuous love and care.

“Please don’t buy pets as gifts without considering the entire household and commitment required.”

Microchipping is available at the Durban SPCA clinic for R200. To book contact 0315796547.

Independent On Saturday