Take extra care of pets on New Year’s Eve

2015-12-16 06:00
PHOTO:supplied The first week in the new year is one of the busiest times for the SPCA as they are inundated with stray animals.

PHOTO:supplied The first week in the new year is one of the busiest times for the SPCA as they are inundated with stray animals.

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THE Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) asks the public to take extra care of their animals over the festive season.

SPCA Pietermaritzburg manager, Alistair Sinclair, said the first week in the new year in one of the busiest times for the SPCA because of stray animals who are scared of the fireworks at this time and those who had been abandoned by owners on holiday.

“A lot of people will leave the animals in the care of people who do not have the same attachment to them. These animals often escape from their home because they are not being fed. When people go on holiday for longer periods - 10 to 14 days, sometimes a bit longer - they leave the dogs a bit longer and the dogs go walk-about for food. If you love your animals stay at home with them on New Year’s Eve. They are your children. If you tell people that your dogs are part of your family, why do you desert them?” asked Sinclair.

He urged animal owners who aren’t taking their pets with them on holiday to leave their vet’s name and contact details with the person or people who are looking after them in their absence.

“Owners must also let the vet know they are going on holiday. Often people who go on holiday don’t take the necessary precaution to care for their animals,” Sinclair added.

The SPCA can only keep stray animals at the pound for seven days. On the eight day the animals become part of the SPCA.

“Picking up stray dogs is not the core function of the SPCA however, we do it. After seven days that animal becomes the property of the pound or the SPCA. We then decide what to do with the animal. If you are looking at about 6 500 animals coming in every year, we have to make lots of decisions.

“We try by all means to home the animals. Sometimes the animals are so traumatised or neglected that we cannot keep them,” said Sinclair.

Owners who collect their animals after seven days must follow adoption processes.

“If inspectors are satisfied that everything is in order, the person who comes to collect the animal will have to pay the pound and adoption fees,” said Sinclair.

However, the animal will be taken away from the owner should SPCA inspectors find that the property does not have enough shelter or shade, there is no proper and adequate food and water and animals are tied up.

“A dog adopted from the SPCA may not be tied up,” he cautioned.

He said the worst Christmas gift to give someone would be an animal.

“People get happy around the festive season, but six months down the line they lose interest. We are inundated with unwanted animals.”

When the economy is facing a downfall a lot of people cannot afford animals as they become less of a priority and that’s when animals get neglected or abandoned said Sinclair.

“However when the economic times improve we find more people looking after dogs and wanting animals for adoption,” he said.

“I’m not saying every animal is scared of fireworks, but you do get a lot that are scared of them. I’m not only talking about dogs and cats. There is wildlife and birds. Every season we get calls about injured birds, cattle, sheep and wildlife that have been knocked over. We appeal to our neighbours to be considerate as fireworks cause a lot of distress for animals.

“What we do is every year from 29 December we start tranquillising every animal on site and any coming in during that time get tranquillised immediately so they are calmer on the evening of 31 December. We remain open right through 31 December.”


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