BUYING a pet as a Christmas present is a decision not to be taken lightly.
That’s the message from Coffs Harbour RSPCA Shelter manager Sue Merrick, who is sick of seeing animals abandoned when the novelty wears off.
“Christmas is our hardest time – it’s not easy,” Ms Merrick said.
“People need to make sure that if they are purchasing an animal as a gift that the person knows about it.
“They need to be involved – it can’t be a surprise gift.
“I think it’s a nice family thing to have that person involved in the selection process.
“We do have gift vouchers which people can purchase, too.”
Ms Merrick said her shelter was a hive of activity at the moment, on a par with previous festive seasons.
“We have experienced our usual increase of surrenders and stray dogs unclaimed before Christmas.
“People want to offload them they before going away for Christmas and that’s a shame.
“The usual scenario is they have got the dog generally as a cross breed freebie but it starts causing trouble in the backyard and they don’t bother to do anything about it.
“Now with the prospect of going away and with no interest in the dog’s emotional or mental well-being, they bring it to the shelter, or simply open the gate and let it out.”
The local shelter is joining others statewide from today until Sunday in halving adoption fees in a bid to re-home as many animals as possible before Christmas.
The shelter will be closed on Christmas Day as well as December 27 and 28.
For further details, contact the shelter on 6651 3311.