The RSPCA collected or rescued 130,000 pets last year. Many of those pets will have been cats or dogs, some are pedigree. Many of their original owners will have purchased them in the first place. Whether they paid as little as a fiver for a rabbit or as much as £500 for a dog, in total this represents quite a significant amount of money.
So why do people part company with their pets?
As a very rough rule of thumb, the RSCPA collects or rescues more dogs than cats or small animals. Sadly this can be due to the death or ill health of owners. But often pets are bought in for financial or personal reasons. Research has also highlighted that owners were either not prepared for destructive or aggressive behaviour or they had issues with the hygiene of the pet and handling its toilet requirements. Another key cause for people giving up their pets is when they have produced unexpected offspring. Finally, and perhaps worst of all, the basic requirements of owning a pet – (exercising, attention, grooming and feeding) just did not interest the owner enough so the pet was neglected and forgotten.
Not all the pets that arrive at rescue centres get re-homed. Dogs have the highest number of success rates except for the Staffordshire breeds. Black cats are the most numerous type of cat to end up with the RSPCA. Small animals are not always easy to re-home and pedigree animals are selected over non-pedigree. Most difficult of all are older animals.
Given the re-homing success rates, it’s best to try and ensure the right owner gets the right pet in the first place. In fact, The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes the welfare of animals the responsibility of their owners. This means owners are legally required to have a basic understanding of their pet’s requirements and then provide them. So for legal, financial and straightforward common sense reasons it makes sense to research what ownership of a particular pet requires, right from the start!