By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK AS the festive season draws near, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has appealed to pet owners not to abandon their pets during this time of year but to ensure that they leave them in the care of someone when they go on vacation. The SPCA, which can only accommodate about 50 stray animals and 24 boarding pets, has since August this year been fully booked. According to the Manager at the Centre Erika Hecker, bookings for animal boarding during the festive season starts as early as July and at present there are more than 10 names on the waiting list. Boarding fees are usually determined by the size of the animals. For a small dog (puppy), the boarding fee per day is N$35.00 while a middle-aged dog costs N$40 and an adult dog N$50. During this time when the owners are on vacation, the pets are vaccinated, dewormed and also neutered. However, for those who could not make it for the bookings she says, “Please leave the pets with your neighbours, friends or relatives.” The festive season usually records a high number of stray dogs as they search for food and water when their owners are gone. During the previous festive season, dogs and cats appeared to have had a better season as less cases of neglect were recorded. Last year, the number of neglected pets reduced from 101 during the year 2003 to 98 recorded over the 2004 season. She emphasised that “it’s important that pet owners take care of their animals in as much as animals guard and protect human beings. I also advise people not to get pets if they do not have the means to support or to take care of them.” Equally, the centre appealed to pet owners to get a bit sensitive in fireworks cracking as the SPCA normally records a high number of strays especially on New Year’s Eve when people ignite fireworks to usher in a fresh year. “Dogs are very sensitive to fireworks and they can cause madness to these animals,” she explained. Apart from looking after stray animals, the organisation also takes care of these animals if requested by owners when they go on vacation. The SPCA in Windhoek has been rescuing and sheltering animals since the 1950s and has managed to positively have an impact on the lives of countless animals, victims of neglect, abuse and ignorance. Make pets part of your family, she ended.
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