Foyleside SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack is appealing to the public to consider before buying a dog, cat or other domestic pet as a gift this Christmas.
Cusack states ‘ I know this call does out every year, but every year there’s a new audience and more people who need to hear this very important message in order to prevent the huge surge in unwanted abandoned animals after the Christmas period.
"What at the time may be an ideal last minute purchase for the kids or a loved one, may turn out to be an incredibly poor idea. While no one can resist the appeal and romance of a cute puppy or kitten, these animals grow up and not only need but deserve full time care and attention. Not only do all dogs require a diligent exercise routine, regardless of size or breed, but they also can be extremely costly to feed, as well as vets bills.
For who have weighed up the pros and cons and are totally committed, a pet will be a wonderful addition to their home and I would always encourage considering a rescue dog. However for many others the novelty sadly wears off when the pet matures and these responsibilities are realised. These poor animals are then frequently deposited in the pound or even worse abandoned to their own fate. This puts incredible pressure on our already underfunded, charity dependant animal shelter organisations.
As a dog owner and lover I understand the amount of work being a responsible owner is and would again reiterate the old mantra 'A dog is for life not just for Christmas'. If you are certain your gift will be loved and looked after for what can be up to 13 years , then fine, if not, buy a gift voucher.’