FRANKSTON had the fifth highest number of pets surrendered to the RSPCA in Victoria in 2015/16 – a total of 203 cats and dogs according to RSPCA figures.
It’s often a sad scenario for the animals which may have just started to feel at home in their new surroundings before getting the old heave-ho. And, usually, it’s not their fault.
The society says new analysis shows the surrenders are frequently because of their owner’s circumstances, rather than issues with the animal’s health or behaviour.
Housing issues affected 65 animals (26 cats, 32 dogs and six kittens) because their owners were homeless, moving, their homes were too small or their fencing was unsuited to keeping pets, the society said.
Other reasons included the pet owners’ lack of money, which affected 13 animals (five cats, four kittens and four dogs) because they could not afford to feed or provide basic vet care.
The death or ill-health of the pets’ owners affected 19 animals (eight cats, one kitten and 10 dogs).
A lack of time affected 12 animals (10 dogs, one cat and a puppy) whose owners did not have enough time to meet their pet’s exercise or social needs.
Having too many other pets affected 12 animals (six cats and six kittens) while two cats and a dog were surrendered following the birth of a baby in the family and two dogs needed new homes after a relationship breakdown or divorce.
The figures are among the 3627 dogs and cats surrendered across the state.
RSPCA boss Dr Liz Walker said the figures “busted the myth that rescue pets were ‘damaged goods’”.
“It shows that, in most cases, animals given up for adoption are healthy, happy pets whose owners were simply unable to keep them,” she said.
“Overall, just 9.5 per cent of owners who brought their dogs and cats to RSPCA Victoria for homing said that problem behaviours – such as barking, aggression, destructiveness, chasing or inappropriate toileting – were the reason.
“A further 1.2 per cent said that the animal’s health was the main reason for their surrender.”
By contrast, human circumstances were the driving force behind 2780 animal surrenders (67.2 per cent).
“This is a powerful reminder to aspiring pet owners who might dismiss the adoption option, believing rescue animals as ‘problems’, ‘broken’, or ‘second-hand’. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth,” Ms Walker said.
“Almost all of these dogs and cats have been the beloved companions of people who could no longer care for them the way all animals should be cared for. Those people have done the right thing in bringing their pets to us, in the hope that we can find new owners to love them and meet all of their needs.”
Dr Walker said that in many instances, owners travelled huge distances to bring their pets to RSPCA Victoria for rehoming. Last year, for example, the organisation received six dogs from East Gippsland – a three-hour drive from its closest animal care centre.
About 8 per cent (287) of the dogs and cats surrendered last financial year came from breeders or those involved in the greyhound racing industry. A further 4.7 per cent were brought to RSPCA Victoria by Good Samaritans who had either found them abandoned or rescued them from neglect.
One in 10 people bringing in dogs or cats for surrender declined to give a reason.