Buy someone a pet for Christmas, and you could be lumbering them with a £30,000 bill.
The Herald & Gazette are teaming up with the animal rescue charity Wadars for a seasonal appeal, which calls for an end to pets being given as gifts.
Wadars rehomes animals in the Worthing, Shoreham and Littlehampton areas, along with Storrington, Ashington and Steyning.
Tracy Cadman, operations manager for Wadars, said: “While appealing to people not to give pets as presents isn’t anything new, it is a serious plea, and well-meaning people giving a relative or loved one a pet can actually be landing them with huge costs over the lifetime of the animal.
“When anyone takes on a pet they need to be fully aware of just how much it could cost them. The initial cost of the animal is often just the tip of the iceberg.”
In January 2016 Wadars took in 36 companion animals for rehoming, which was a 24% increase on 2015 figures. Some of these were likely to have been as a result of unwanted Christmas presents.
Based on all of the above, according to previous calculations made by the PDSA, the cost of owning a dog can range from £16,000-£31,000 during its lifetime depending on its size, and for cats the figure reaches just over £17,000.
Tracy said that potential owners need to consider the list of expenses before committing to getting a pet. These include annual vaccinations, neutering, microchipping, which for dogs is a legal requirement; regular worming treatment; flea treatment on a monthly basis; kennelling or cattery fees when the owners go away on holiday or have to go away unexpectedly; food, cat litter, toys and pet insurance.
These costs are something that the charity also has to consider, as with the case with rescue dog Saffron, which has been in its care for almost a year and has cost Wadars £3,000 to care for.
Tracy said: “Saffron originally came from Romania and was brought over to the UK by some people who were then unable to keep her.
“We are currently looking for an experienced person to foster Saffron until a permanent home can be found for her.
Also, while we definitely don’t have time limits on the animals in our care, if anyone would like to make a donation towards Saffron’s keep then we would love to hear from them.”
Based in Worthing, Wadars Animal Rescue has been providing care and protection for animals of all kinds since 1969.
At any one time the team has around 50 dogs, cats, and other pets in its care that are looking for new homes.
Anyone interested in adopting a pet in the New Year should contact Wadars on 01903 247111 and speak to a member of the team.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.