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The Ins and Outs of Adopting Pets in Australia

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Adopting a pet is not as simple as some may think. It is not just about choosing an animal and purchasing it - it’s also about adopting from the right person or place. This is because there are backyard breeders who practise irresponsible breeding and businesses that support the inhumane breeding of animals.

If you are thinking of bringing home a cat or dog, it is important that you know where to buy one and what the process is. Pets can be purchased from a breeder, shelter, rescue organization, puppy farm, pet shop, online store, or classified ad.

Where to Adopt a Pet

#1 Breeders

There are numerous cat and dog breeders in Australia that you can trust to practise ethical breeding. To be sure you are dealing with one, it is recommended that you prepare a long list of questions about their pet before visiting them personally. Ask them about their animal’s personality, health, nutrition, grooming, and training, among others. Request that you be allowed to meet your chosen pet’s parents and littermates. Remember that a reputable breeder will be knowledgeable about their animal and glad to grant any of your requests.

Once you are decided on purchasing a pet from your breeder, they should be able to provide you with most of the following, if not all:

  • * Contract of sale
  • * Proof of pedigree
  • * Registration certificate
  • * Veterinary documentation, health certificates, proof of vaccination
  • * Pet identification tag
  • * Breeding records

#2 Shelters

Some Australians prefer to adopt from a pet shelter instead of a breeder because its animals are cheaper and often free. A shelter is a facility operated by organisations that support animal welfare. Surprisingly, it houses many types of animals - from young and old to purebreds and mixes. So if you have yet to decide on the best pet for your personality and lifestyle, this is a great place to look for one.

The first step in adopting from a shelter is visiting it. This way, you get to see the different animals and ask questions about each to the adoption assistant. As part of the process, you will be asked about your lifestyle and living environment. This is for the facility to know if your background and needs match those of your pet of choice.

Once the choice has been finalised, the shelter will provide you with an application form to fill out and charge you a nominal fee which varies individually. You then will be given a cooling period of 24 hours to make certain of your decision to purchase, after which an interview will follow.

#3 Rescue Organisations

Another place to purchase a pet is from a rescue organisation. Just like a shelter, it is committed to the wellbeing of its animals. However, it often does not have the proper housing to look after its pets. This is why this facility has staff and volunteers that usually foster the animals and provide them with temporary in-home care.

If you are considering rescuing a pet, contact a rescue organisation and request to visit the animals that are available for adoption. Bear in mind that because of the current pandemic restrictions, you may be required to book an appointment online.

Before your meet and greet, you will be asked to submit an application form. The information that you will provide will help the organisation suggest a suitable pet for you. Once your application has been processed, you will be scheduled for a visit.

It is recommended that you prepare questions to ask the rescue group about your pet of choice before your visit. Be prepared as well for questions that the organisation’s staff or volunteer may ask you - such as your lifestyle and living environment. Furthermore, do not be surprised if they request that your dwelling be checked for protection purposes.

#4 Puppy Farms

All breeders in Australia are required by law to follow the animal welfare code. However, unscrupulous puppy and kitten farms still exist because they remain legal throughout the country. This is because there are no regular audits, making it difficult for the authorities to spot backyard breeders.

Adopting from a puppy farm is never recommended because it is a facility where animals are abused. Here, pets are bred repeatedly, confined in overcrowded and unhygienic housing, separated from their families, and refused adequate veterinary care.

#5 Pet Shops, Online Stores, and Classified Ads

Buying from these three may seem convenient, but there is a huge possibility that they may be supporting the puppy farming industry. This is because there is no chance for you to personally meet the breeder as well as your prospective pet’s parents. The animal being sold to you could have been raised in substandard conditions.

Additionally, purchasing from these sources is not cheap. Some charge a hefty amount for an animal that has yet to be microchipped and vaccinated, among others. Furthermore, your transaction may end the moment you purchase your new pet. There will be no one to help you with questions or problems you may have later on.

Make sure that when you buy from online stores or pet shops that you only purchase from verified breeders and sellers. You can find registered dog breeders in Australia at RPBA or ANKC. 

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