Community & Business

19 December, 2023

Adopt, don’t shop this Christmas

'TIS the season at Mareeba Animal Refuge, where bundles of joy in the form of dogs and cats have taken up residence at the Hickling Avenue facility, but staff are reminding locals that while they are cute presents, they are also lifelong commitments.

Felicity Pollard and Kerry Gardner with their residents getting ready for Christmas.
Felicity Pollard and Kerry Gardner with their residents getting ready for Christmas.

While the idea of gifting a pet may be enchanting, staff member Felicity Pollard  stresses that animals are not just a present. 

“They can make great presents for loved ones, so long as the receiver understands they are life-long commitments and not just a friend for the Christmas holidays,” she said. 

 “They are great companions as gifts, but they are a lifelong responsibility.”

To avoid gifting a pet that isn’t the right fit for the recipient, the refuge has created gift vouchers, where loved ones can put a certain amount of money towards a new pet. 

“People can pay a certain amount that goes towards the voucher and then that voucher can be used when paying the adoption fee,” Felicity said. 

“So, instead of gifting them an animal they may not be prepared for, they can actually come in and meet the animals themselves and find one that meets their lifestyle.

“We know a lot of people want a pet but can’t afford it, so it is great to gift them a voucher that can pay some or all of the adoption fee.”

Felicity is also warning those wanting to buy an animal this Christmas to watch out for dodgy backyard breeders and the issues that come with them.

She said backyard breeders tend not to do the right vet work for their animals, leaving them sick with transmittable diseases.

“These are the ones that usually come into the refuge,” Felicity said. 

“When you have puppies and kittens being sold for really cheap, it also encourages others to breed as well, meaning litters will grow and grow until they can’t sell them. 

“Adopting or buying from a responsible registered breeder is better.”

With an influx of animals currently in the shelter, the refuge are seeking donations of food and litter for their residents. 

To donate, contact the refuge on 4092 3060 or visit their facility at 35 Hickling Avenue, Mareeba.

Donations can also be made via bank transfer to account name - Friends of the Animals, BSB – 633000, account number 113217335.


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