With just under a month before the festive season, pet owners going on holiday have been advised to make use of reputable house-sitting services. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - With just under a month before the festive season, pet owners going on holiday have been advised to make use of reputable house-sitting services or reliable family members to take care of their pets.

The Animal Welfare Society’s Allan Perrins said owners must not leave the booking of their pets into boarding kennels or finding a responsible carer until the last minute.

“Reputable facilities and good caregivers are always in high demand,” he said, cautioning pet owners to never leave pets to fend for themselves.

Perrins said there was an increase of animal abandonment during the festive season.

“This sad and preventable state of affairs is a metro-wide issue and cuts across the entire socio-economic spectrum. It’s not confined to one specific sector of the community, “ he said.

Perrins said the consequences for the abandoned animal could be fatal.

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha said they had already started seeing an influx of homeless pets.

“The festive season is happy for most, but for us at Mdzananda it’s the hardest time of the year,” said Marcelle du Plessis, fund-raising and communications manager.

The non-profit’s clinic has a small shelter programme which can cater for only 15 dogs and 15 cats. “Right now we have 33 stray cats in our small facility and 28 in foster care - we’re already over capacity,” Du Plessis said.

“From now until January, community members go to the Eastern Cape and don’t know what to do with their pets. They end up being abandoned, handed over to us or even thrown over our walls at night,” she said.

Belinda Abraham from the Cape of Good Hope SPCA said they expected to receive more abandoned animals during this busy period.

“We’re still approaching peak season, but based on our statistics from last year, we expect the admission of around 2000 stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats during November and December.”

Perrins said pet ownership was a huge responsibility and could be costly. “Spending money on a pet’s health and well-being must never be a ‘grudge’ expense.”

She said relevant by-laws were needed to regulate pet ownership.

@Mtuzeli

[email protected]

Cape Argus