Dog shelters bursting at the seams

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Shelter dogs need re-homing in the lead up to Christmas
Shelter dogs need re-homing in the lead up to Christmas

One of the downsides of the approaching holidays is the number of dogs who end up in shelters at some stage during the Christmas season. At pups4sale, when reviewing an ad for a litter, we sometimes see the word “Christmas” referred to in the ad description. As people become more aware of the danger of impulse buying – especially where animals are concerned – it is encouraging to see many advertisers who refer to the word “Christmas” in their ad do so in the context of a warning that the pups they are selling are for life – and not for Christmas.

At the DailyDog we find it hard to imagine a worse scenario than where a puppy who should be going to a loving home for life is knowingly sold for the purposes of becoming a Christmas present, the recipient either not wanting or not being able to care for the pup, and the pup inevitably ending up either badly neglected, in a shelter with the threat of euthanasia hanging over its head, or both.

The RSPCA are one of the worst offenders when it comes to euthanasia rates of course (when compared to private shelters), as revealed in earlier posts on the DailyDog. However this large “business” is one of the main locations for people to drop off unwanted dogs. At their Brisbane shelter in the suburb of Wacol, the RSPCA have received over 7,000 animals in the last 12 months, with 69 dogs at time of writing currently available for re-homing. That number is predicted to increase significantly over the upcoming holiday period, as the effects of unwise Christmas puppy “purchases” literally start to bite.

This phenomenon is seen year on year at shelters across Australia. Many of the dogs surrendered are not puppies wrongly given as Christmas presents either. Many are older dogs, surrendered because the family they belong to is going on holidays and cannot afford (or does not want to pay for in many cases) the cost of boarding kennels. One wonders in such cases how the family concerned can afford to go on holidays (!) but nevertheless the unfortunate canine victim of this low act is left in a shelter. Puppies of course are far more likely to be successfully re-homed than older dogs, so it is a double blow for an older dog dropped off at a shelter by a family on their way to Christmas holidays.

The message from today’s blog post is: If selling puppies at this time of year, do everything you can to ensure the people you sell to are not buying a puppy as a Christmas present. If buying a puppy, make sure you are thinking of the next 14 years ahead and can commit to providing a good home for your new canine companion.

4 Responses to “Dog shelters bursting at the seams”

  1. Bernadette Kennedy

    When I sell my Labrador puppies I inform the buyers about the responsibility of pet ownership.That it is for the long haul and the estimate costs over the lifespan. I will not sell if I think that the person or family is not willing to commit to the effort or costs of pet ownership. I would never use a Christmas sale as a selling gimmick.

    • pups4sale

      Indeed, Bernadette. Regardless of the time of year, a seller needs to make sure the pup in question is not being sought as a gift. When we were breeding Maltese, we also liked to see the pup pick the owner rather than the owner pick the pup. Dogs seem to have a sense about these things!

  2. joan

    when selling a puppy we always ask if for any reason puppy or as it is older cannot be kept by that person to call us and we will gladly take it back to ensure a good home is found and not be dumped or surrendered to rspca doug

    • pups4sale

      That is definitely a best practice approach, Joan. We have heard of other breeders doing the same thing, and it is far better than the thought of one of our pups ending up in a shelter.

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