RSPCA Victoria is debunking the misconception that pets given as Christmas gifts will end up being surrendered.
Dr Liz Walker, RSPCA chief executive said multiple studies from around the world show that the care a person gives their pet is not determined by how the animal came into their lives.
This has been supported by RSPCA Victoria’s own data.
“RSPCA Victoria does not see any increase in the number of pets being surrendered in the months following Christmas,” Dr Walker said.
“And throughout the year, we rarely see an animal surrendered because it was an unwanted gift.”
However, Dr Walker said she would not recommend pets as a “surprise” Christmas gift.
“While a lot of gift-givers want an element of surprise, we’d suggest the surprise could be the destination to an animal adoption centre,” Dr Walker said.
“The adoption process includes education about animal care and responsible pet ownership, which is essential information for any new pet owner.”
Anyone planning on gifting a pet should fully consider the recipient’s circumstances and their ability to care for the animal long-term, she said.
“Pet ownership is a commitment that can last 10 to 20 years, so it’s really important that thought is given to the type of pet chosen.
“If you are thinking about giving the gift of a pet, buying a gift voucher from an animal shelter can be a really thoughtful gesture that allows the receiver to personally select their new companion.”