Having to give up your pets due to economic climate

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According to the Boksburg SPCA manager, Maggie Mudd, the main reason for this is that owners can no longer afford to look after their pets and are either contacting the SPCA to collect them, or are bringing them to the SPCA themselves.

“We are obviously happy that these animals are coming to us so we can then see if we are able to re-home them and they are not simply being given away to homes that may not be suitable,” said Mudd.

Some pet owners have to down grade because of finances or are moving to smaller properties or complexes where animals are not permitted.

Mudd explained that the condition of these animals when they come into the SPCA can vary. Some cats and dogs are in really excellent condition while others are in fair to poor condition.

“All animals, regardless of what they look like, are accepted and placed up for re-adoption if they are healthy and not aggressive,” she said.

“Thin animals are left to put on some weight before being put up for adoption and scared animals are given some time to gain confidence.”

  • Complaint

If the SPCA receives a complaint against an owner claiming that they cannot afford to look after their animal (and this is quite a regular occurrence) then this will be investigated by the inspectors.

“Depending on the circumstances, the society will either lay cruelty charges against the owner and seize the animals or, if not too serious, chat to the owner about signing their animal/s over to the SPCA or assisting them with the sterilisation of their animals (if they are unable to have this done privately).”

  • Privilege

The Boksburg SPCA is of the opinion that owning an animal is a privilege and not a right.

“Animals should not suffer in any way simply because their owners have fallen on hard times. Our advice to any owner struggling to care for their pets is to bring them to the SPCA and donate them to us,” said Mudd.

All domestic animals adopted from the SPCA will be sterilised, given a first vaccine, dewormed and receive some form of identification – either a collar and ID disc or a microchip.

  • Study the breed

Mudd advised pet owners to study up on the different breeds of cats and dogs before they purchase one or come to adopt one.

Certain breeds require far more attention, space and exercise than others and we feel that keeping a dog, such as a border collie, for example, in a small area is cruel to a dog that needs lots of space and stimulation to remain content

“Jack Russells, although small dogs, are another breed that require lots of space. It is not necessarily the size of the dog that should determine if a person can keep an animal or not, but the characteristics of the breed itself.”

This is one of the reasons SPCAs carry out inspections before permitting an animal to go to a new home – it is not only to see the height of the walling but also to determine if the property is large enough for the dog.

“Our advice to people wanting to adopt say a husky or border collie but who only have small premises is: ‘Don’t do it – or, if you do, understand that you will have to take that animal for walks twice a day every day and you could still end up with a miserable and frustrated dog’,” said Mudd.

These are the types of animals that bark constantly due to frustration or jump walls to escape their incarceration. Don’t do this to an animal – prospective owners must do their homework beforehand and find an animal that matches their lives and accommodation

Mudd explained that sterilising an animal certainly helps to reduce frustration in that animal and if pet owners do find themselves in situations outside of their control where they have to move to smaller premises etc. but are not prepared to ‘get rid’ of their pet/s, then having them spayed or neutered can help to calm the animal down.

“They will still have to ensure that the animal is regularly walked to enable it to expend some of the excess energy it may have, but getting it sterilised is important to improving the type of life it is living,” she said.

Anyone wishing to have their animal sterilised by the Boksburg SPCA must come into the office and first complete a form, which is a type of means test and requires information such as income and expenditure of the owner, to determine if the society is able to assist with the surgical procedure or not.

Ischke de Jager

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