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Don’t forget your pets this festive season, residents urged Print E-mail
19 December 2016
Pets

It is a season to be jolly but for many pets, the year-end holiday period could be a time of neglect, distress and abuse.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), which receives an influx of animals in need during the festive season, has appealed to Johannesburg pet owners to be “cognisant” of their animals and those around them during merrymaking.

“As the NSPCA we are appealing to members of the public to be vigilant and mindful of all animals, both pets and wildlife. Animal welfare starts at home and we urge people with information [of abuse, cruelty or neglect] to come forward and report these issues,” says NSPCA spokesperson Christine Kuch.

“We ask the public to be our eyes and ears in the approach to and during the festive season. If you encounter any situation involving an animal that concerns you, report it quickly and directly. There is a trend for people to send an email or take a photograph and place it on Facebook. But this delays response.”

Kuch has offered a few helpful tips to ensure pets are safe and secure this festive season:

  • If you are going away, ensure you make suitable arrangements for your pets. A reliable house sitter or a reputable kennel or cattery is recommended;
  • Ensure your own animals are up to date with all vaccinations, including against rabies;
  • It is imperative that each animal has identification, with microchip identification coming highly recommended;
  • Ensure that pets do not reach food or treats, especially chocolates, that is toxic to them;
  • Dogs often mistake decorations and party items as toys. Ensure these are out of reach; and
  • Be mindful that fireworks, bursting balloons and popping decorations may startle your animals.

“If there are going to be loud bangs during festivities, the best advice is to give the animals either a room of their own or a space to hide away from the hubbub,” she said.

Kuch has also emphasised the need to report issues of concern. “Carry the number of your local NSPCA on your cellphone and contact it immediately with as much information as possible,” says Kuch.

She has provided a few other festive season tips:
 Be a responsible tourist and don’t support unethical animal and wildlife tourism;
 Don’t remove wildlife from their habitats; and
 Pets, especially exotic species, are definitely not ideal Christmas gifts and the public are urged to refrain from giving these away as presents.

For a full list of all local NSPCAs and their contact numbers go to www.nspca.co.za.

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