Pups are not a Christmas present
Dan Donoher of Kildare Animal Shelter advises families who want to get a dog for Christmas to please think again.
Christmas is not far away now, and at this time of year the very important topic of getting pets as presents raises its head.
It’s just not a good idea, even for the best and most experienced pet owners. Christmas is a busy time, with lots of coming and goings from houses.
Animals need time with their new owners and also need calm and routine. It’s very important to have this in the first few weeks so they can settle in and get to know everyone. It’s especially important for rescue animals. Puppies and kittens seem to be the most popular choice for presents.
They are often bought on a spur of the moment decision because of how cute one might be, and this can be the downfall of the scheme and can lead to the puppy or kitten being unwanted a few months down the line.
If you do decide it is the right thing for you right now, then it is really important that you research the breed that will suit your lifestyle and the time.
You need to look at energy levels, health, size, suitability with other animals, children etc.
There has been a lot of media coverage recently around puppy farms in Ireland and the seizure of animals at our Irish ports.
Ireland is, sadly, considered to be the puppy farming capital of Europe. A puppy farm is a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated solely on making profits above animal welfare. The living conditions are normally below standard, with dogs often living in cramped and dirty pens. Due to this, puppies bred in these type of situations can suffer from health and/or social problems. These puppies rarely interact with humans and are shy and often scared to be held.
Puppy farmers will often advertise online, and if you look through the ads you might notice the same number for different breeds of puppies. Stay well clear of this type of breeder. They will often offer to meet you half way in a car park or lay-by. Again stay clear.
Always ask to see the mother and where the puppies are kept. Good breeders will always ask you questions and want to make sure their puppies are going to good and loving homes. They will also have the puppies fully vaccinated, microchipped etc, so when buying a dog or car make sure you get the paperwork there and then.
If you suspect you might be dealing with a puppy farm then please notify the ISPCA.
Adopt, don't buy
Of course we always recommend adopting a pet from a rescue centre. Giving that animal a shot of a new chance in life is very rewarding. The rescue will match you with the right pet and will always give you advice and be there even after the adoption.
So please, this Christmas do not give a pet for a present and when the time is right, adopt don’t buy.
Kildare Animal Foundation, located outside Kildare town, is a voluntary organisation that provides a safe haven for neglected or abused animals. Tel: 045 522929, email email@example.com or log on to www.animalfoundation.ie. All donations welcome.