POUND PUPPY: The school holidays, particularly in December and January, are the busiest times for local animal shelters needing to rehome dumped pets.
POUND PUPPY: The school holidays, particularly in December and January, are the busiest times for local animal shelters needing to rehome dumped pets. Lisa Machin

Pets not always a purr-fect present

THINKING of giving a pet as a Christmas gift? You may want to reconsider.

December is the peak time of year for pet buying, particularly in the countdown to Christmas as the gift-hunting frenzy gets underway.

But local shelters warn that people often bring animals they received as a Christmas gift to pounds in the new year when they don't turn out to be the right fit.

Southern Downs Ark president Ann Simon offers words of advice to those considering giving a pet as a present.

"It's very difficult to pick a lifetime pet for someone else because you're not always looking at the same thing," Ms Simon said.

"I would discourage it unless it's exceptional circumstances and has been very well thought out."

School holidays and Christmas are often a time when children encouraged parents to buy them a pet, Ms Simon said.

"Maybe think it through for a few months after the holidays are over before making the decision to buy a dog or cat for a child."

The shelter has helped rehome and foster out more than 700 dumped dogs and cats in the local area during the past two years.

"Hastily bought pets often become victims of our throw-away society.

"Shelters end up with a lot of dogs and cats during school holidays as people can't be bothered putting them in a kennel facility or with a friend when they go away so they dump them at a pound," Ms Simon said.

Southern Downs Council environmental services manager Tim O'Brien said the number of dogs and cats at Warwick and Stanthorpe pounds had not declined over the past few years.

"At this time of the year with the amount of animals being dumped at pounds ... there is less chance of them being rehomed because of the sheer volume," Mr O'Brien said.

He commended local volunteer groups such as the Southern Downs Ark for helping to lower the number of euthanised animals at pounds.

"Council officers work very closely with several very well organised and efficient rescue groups within Queensland," Mr O'Brien said.

"Except for a very small number of dogs that officers believe are not able to be rehomed, the rest are shared out between these organisations."



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