No Home for the Holidays: Dogs Being Set Loose so their Family Can Afford Christmas Vacation

An alarming trend has been identified in Australia leading up to and during this holiday season. Families are abandoning their pets to avoid paying expenses related to boarding them whilst the family travels for Christmas. The practice is naturally sparking outrage among more responsible animal lovers and causing problems for shelters with swelling populations.


Mayhem Ensues for Shelters in Melbourne

Australian Animal Protection Society vice-president Sue Thompson told the Australian publication The Age that people are letting their pets loose, hoping that they will be picked up and brought to a shelter to be cared for. Even more? Some of them will attempt to bring their dog back home with them from the shelter after they return to Melbourne. This is a practice that area shelters will not abide. 

“Quite often people go overseas for Christmas holidays and because it costs so much for kennels, they would prefer to get rid of them,”  Thompson said.  “They ring when they are back from holidays and ask if they can adopt their own pet back. We would never allow that,” she added.

Area shelters have seen a steady increase in owner surrenders and intake, which is only rising as the big day draws nearer. Shelter populations are growing, putting a huge strain on the entire system. Thompson admonished those who do not account for care taking for pets in their absence. She said boarding kennels and catteries “may be expensive, but they should be included in the Christmas plan.”

Fees Imposed by Council Could be Just as High as Boarding Fees

What many of those who aim to game the system don’t seem to realize is that there are fees levied by the council rangers in Melbourne when a public shelter takes in and boards a family pet. Those fees could easily be as high as those from a boarding kennel. There is no free ride, making it all the more frustrating for those who work in animal welfare.

When dogs found in the City of Melbourne are taken to the council pound within the Lost Dogs Home, fees are charged of ​$65 for the first day, then $15 each day after that. Before a dog will be released to it’s family, these fees must be paid in full and the dog must be microchipped and registered with the council.

This trend has been likened to the tendency for people to adopt animals as Christmas gifts, only to quickly return or abandon them shortly after the holidays. Dogs are not disposable or exchangeable, like the sweater your Aunt Flo regifted you. Adoption should be forever.


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