Tag listing: Pets

Pet protection

The images that have emerged from Monday’s raid on the “puppy farm” near Strathalbyn are distressing.
We are a culture that likes to keep pets, with many of us considering them part of the family.
Even man’s worst enemy is incarcerated in better conditions in Australia than man’s best friend was kept at this property.
The RSPCA’s new chief executive in SA, Tim Vasudeva, cuts to the heart of the matter when he points out that this case highlights the lack of scrutiny and the lack of accountability for breeders supplying Australia’s $6billion pet industry.
According to the RSPCA, euthanasia rates for unwanted and dumped dogs and cats and poor breeding practices are two of this country’s most significant animal welfare issues.
RSPCA shelters take in about 120,000 dogs and cats every year, with about a quarter of the dogs and about half the cats having to be put down.
In SA the shelters took in about 8200 animals last year and more than 3000 had to be put down.
This peak animal welfare body lays the blame squarely on the under regulated “commodification” of the dog and cat “companion animal” industry.
Our desire for that cute and cuddly puppy or kitten has led to an oversupply of animals with some unscrupulous breeders resorting to practices that can only be likened to factory farming where female animals are keep in cages and continually pregnant.
Some so called puppy farms are worse than others, as evidenced by this week’s raid, but we all play a part in feeding demand.
If the RSCPA and animal welfare groups have their way, all breeders – even the owners of a single entire animal who have no intention of breeding – should be registered.
Compulsory breeder standards should be developed and compliance monitored and micro chipping of dogs and cats should be compulsory.
Micro chipping might be going too far, given the cost, but it should be noted that Australia’s livestock industry has an identification system that can track an animal’s journey from paddock to plate.
This was brought in to ensure the health and safety of the population.
Why can’t an identification system be brought in to ensure the health and safety of our pets?
If people want to do something to prevent puppy farms, they should avoid impulse purchases of animals and, if a pet is definitely what they want, they should go to a reputable breeder where they can see where the animal was born.
Better yet, adopt a shelter dog or cat which desperately needs a home.

Cat complaints

It will be interesting to observe if there is any reaction to the Adelaide Hills Council’s call for cat owners to ensure their cats do not roam.
The overwhelming majority of dog owners take reasonable measures to make sure their pets are confined but for some reason, perhaps because cats are more difficult to contain, the same level of responsibility does not exist to cats.
Putting the cat out at night with the empty milk bottles was once a common pre-bedtime ritual in many households.
But too many people have the same mindset today – minus the milk bottles of course!
Cats can be wonderful pets for many people. They offer companionship and something to love. They are especially well suited to the elderly, young families, those living with backyards too small or without the time or ability to exercise a dog.
Sadly they are also remarkable predators which have successfully colonised almost every corner of the planet.
Even a well fed domesticated cat is lethal to smaller wildlife and they make no distinction between native and introduced species.
So a great mouser is almost certainly a great birder.
No doubt there are some cats for which hunting is not a high priority but to put a cat out at night or to let it wander at large is signing a death sentence for something.
Bells attached to collars are mostly ineffective.
The only foolproof way to prevent a cat from harming wildlife is to confine it – either to its owner’s home or a cat run.
But it’s not just about killing. In some circumstances there can also be legitimate grievances with cats defecating and spraying their territory on neighboring properties.
It would no doubt add insult to injury to have to smell the scent of a neighbor’s cat all night after it sprayed your bedroom window having previously watched it munching on a blue wren in the back garden.
The Adelaide Hills Council’s call for residents to keep a diary of when they see cats causing a nuisance in order to develop a case against the animal’s owner is a bold initiative.
In the past the council has not developed stronger legislation such as cat registration but this latest push shows a commitment to ensuring cat owners do not completely ignore their responsibilities.
Just how many cat complaints the council receives and how involved in some disputes it may find itself is yet to be seen.
Given that many residents in this district hold native wildlife in high regard, some cat owners may find themselves having to think a little more carefully about what it means to own such a pet.