Australian pet owners are taking puppy steps towards minimising the rates of homelessness and euthanasia — not to mention enhancing the life of animals in need.

According to Shel Williamson, director of Perth-based organisation PetRescue, growing compassion and responsibility among pet owners have resulted in a decline in the number of abandoned and euthanised pets in Australia.

“Over the last decade, the number of people adopting cats and dogs from animal shelters has doubled — a sure sign that the warm and fuzzy feel-good factor that comes with saving an abandoned pet is gaining real appeal, ” Ms Williamson said.

Chandra Woodley, from Cat Haven in Shenton Park, said adopting a pet was a generous, rewarding and responsible thing to do. “There are thousands of stray and unwanted animals surrendered or abandoned in Perth every year, ” she said.

“Pets can become quite depressed when they stay in a shelter environment so it is important that we adopt them out quickly or find willing foster families.”

Ms Williamson said adoption was also a financially savvy route to pet ownership. All rescue pets must be examined by a vet, vaccinated, microchipped and desexed before they go to their new home.

“Adoptable pets listed by reliable rescue organisations have also been assessed for temperament, basic manners and toilet training, ” she said. “You’re not starting from scratch if you adopt.

“In most instances, the adoption fee you pay covers the basic medical expenses incurred and fees generally sit somewhere between $200 and $800.”

Renae Powell, of small-animal specialists Little PAWS Rescue Perth, said adoptive options went beyond cats and dogs.

“With apartments becoming more popular, people are finding less space to appropriately house these larger animals, ” she said. “Many families are starting to consider smaller animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, birds and even reptiles.”

However, while adopting a pet is a great joy, it is also a big responsibility. Ms Williamson said that if you travelled a lot, worked long hours or were financially unable to support a pet it might not be practical to adopt. There were, however, other ways to get involved, such as volunteering to groom, walk or spend time with animals, becoming a temporary foster carer, or donating much-needed food and supplies.



© The West Australian

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