Pets can make life richer for owners, but buying one shouldn’t be done on a whim, said RSPCA Victoria Executive Director Dr Liz Walker.
According to Dr. Walker, special attention must be given before a pet is brought into a home.
“Pets make our life so much better,” she said.
“They’re really good for our mental health and well-being, and they’re really good for kids and teens as well.
“Having said that, we strongly recommend that… if you are thinking of buying a pet for someone, make sure they want one in the first place.
“Take them on a trip to a shelter, if you’re considering adopting… and chat with the staff there. “
Dr Walker said it’s important to consider things like the animal’s needs, the cost associated with that animal, and its lifespan.
“The key question we need people to ask is, ‘is everyone ready to take care of this pet for their entire life?” Says Dr Walker.
“If it’s a cat it could live to 20 years… small dogs will live to 20 years as well.
“Of course there is affordability, the care that this animal will need and the shelter that it will need. “
When considering contacting a breeder to purchase a pet for your family or loved one, Dr Walker said it would be advisable to refer to the RSPCA’s Victoria Puppy and Dog Buying Guides and kittens and cats.
“Essentially [the guides say] go to where the puppy [or kitten] was born, ”she said.
“Meet with the mother animal, and the father animal, if you can, to make sure you are happy with the conditions.
“In Victoria we are really lucky because we have implemented the Pet Exchange Register, which is managed by the state government.
“[It] promotes responsible breeding and means that anyone selling an animal… must have what is called a source number.
“If the person selling you the animal does not have a source number, you should not buy [the] animal.”
Dr Walker said prospective pet parents can visit the Pet Exchange Register website to verify breeder’s credentials.
Buying guides are available online.