The link between animal and domestic abuse

Image: Pixabay

The link between animal and domestic abuse

Exploring the disturbing connection between Animal Abuse and Domestic Abuse:
In recent years, the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse is supported by a growing body of research and anecdotal evidence that has shed light on a disturbing connection that exists between two forms of violence. While each of these issues has long been recognized as independent societal problems, the emerging understanding of their interrelationship has brought attention to the complex dynamics that underlie both. The link between animal abuse and domestic abuse is not merely coincidental but rather represents a deep-rooted and troubling correlation that demands further exploration and intervention.

As part of the mission of The Paw Company, I focus on efforts to help change legislation in South Africa to improve the lives of animals.  I recently attended three consultation workshops by the animal law project in which Dr. Sheena Swemmer shared about the link between animal abuse and domestic violence.

Sheena Swemmer currently works at the School of Law (Centre for Applied Legal Studies), University of the Witwatersrand. Sheena does research on the intersection of violence against vulnerable groups (such as women, children, and animals) and rights in the Bill of Rights. Her Ph.D. is based on the intersection of companion animal abuse and domestic violence in the home, with the aim of developing South African domestic violence laws to include companion animals.

Animal abuse, which encompasses a wide range of cruel acts towards animals, is often viewed as a precursor or warning sign for more extensive forms of violence. These abusive behaviours may include physical harm, neglect, abandonment, or even deliberate acts of torture directed toward animals, both domestic and wild. On the other hand, domestic violence refers to a pattern of controlling, coercive, and violent behaviours exerted by one person against another in an intimate relationship. This abuse may manifest as physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual harm and is characterized by a power dynamic where the abuser seeks to dominate and control their victim.

Studies examining the link between these two types of violence have uncovered compelling evidence of shared characteristics and common underlying factors. Perpetrators of domestic violence have often been found to have a history of animal abuse, suggesting a progression of violence from animals to human victims. This is also evident in crime channel stories where serial killers’s first victims are usually animals. This makes abuse of animals a significant risk factor in identifying potential domestic abusers and even murderers.

Dr. Swemmer shares the following in her presentation:

  • In a 2016 study, of men arrested for animal cruelty crimes, 41% have been previously arrested for interpersonal violence crimes, including domestic violence.
  • In the same study, it was found that 75% of women who previously experienced domestic violence, stated that their partner had harmed or threatened to harm their companion animals, and 90% of the time the children witnessed the violence. This can also increase the risk of the children perpetrating such violence.

Image: Pixabay

Animal abuse is frequently used as a tactic to exert control and intimidation within domestic violence situations. Abusers may harm or threaten to harm beloved pets as a means to manipulate and exert power over their human victims, instilling fear and preventing them from leaving or seeking help. For many individuals, their pets are cherished family members, and the thought of harm coming to them can be a powerful deterrent to seeking safety and leaving abusive environments.

This intertwined relationship between animal abuse and domestic violence has implications for both the victims and society as a whole. Recognizing and addressing this link can offer crucial insights into understanding the minds of abusers, their motives, and the potential escalation of violence. Furthermore, it reinforces the importance of a multidisciplinary approach involving law enforcement, social services, mental health professionals, and animal welfare organizations to protect both vulnerable human and animal victims.

It is therefore important to report animal abuse and cruelty, not only because it is the right thing to do, but by saving animals, you can save people too! Read more about how to better understand animal cruelty, recognize it and report animal cruelty.

Some suggestions to address this link in terms of legislation include:

  • Establishing protection order mechanisms in the Animal Protection Act.
  • Creating mandatory reporting mechanisms for Veterinarians.
  • Creating cross-reporting mechanisms between the Department of social development, SAPS, and the NSPCA (or animal welfare).
  • Including the use of animals as complainants in domestic violence laws.
  • Establish caregiver (owner) responsibilities and obligations so that they can lose “custody” of animals if they are not well taken care of.

In conclusion, the connection between animal abuse and domestic abuse serves as a poignant reminder of the complex nature of violence in society. Addressing this link is essential not only to protect animals and their human caretakers but also to break the cycle of violence that can perpetuate from one generation to the next. By fostering awareness, conducting research, and implementing effective preventive measures, we can strive towards building a safer and more compassionate society for all beings.

I agree with Gandhi that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Animals didn’t have a choice where they live, so do right by them!


Source: The Bulletin

Pet theft is on the rise!


Pet theft is on the rise

Pet theft is on the rise!

Why Pet Theft occurs and how WE can better protect our beloved companions!
Pet theft is a distressing and concerning issue that has been prevalent in society for many years. It involves the unlawful taking or abduction of animals that are considered to be someone’s beloved pets or companion animals. Pet theft causes pain and suffering to both the stolen animals and their loving owners. The motivations behind pet theft are diverse and complex, but several key factors contribute to this unfortunate phenomenon. Understanding the risk of rising pet thefts and how you can minimize the risk.

Why are Pets stolen?

  • Financial Gain: One of the primary reasons for pet theft is the potential for financial profit. Thieves may steal valuable or purebred pets to sell them to unknowing buyers. Some stolen animals end up in illegal breeding operations, where they are used to produce offspring for profit. Some just sell them on the street because the public tends to buy them to “save” them. They may also be stolen and sold as bait animals.
  • Demand for Specific Breeds: Certain dog breeds, especially those considered rare or trendy, can fetch high prices on the black market. As a result, these breeds become prime targets for thieves seeking to cash in on their desirability.
  • Emotional Value: Pets hold significant emotional value for their owners, and sadly, some individuals steal pets out of malice or to cause emotional distress to the owners. These perpetrators may derive satisfaction from the suffering they cause to both the pet and their human companions.
  • Reselling or Ransom: In some cases, thieves may aim to resell the stolen pets to their rightful owners or demand a ransom from the distraught owners in exchange for their safe return.
  • Dog Fighting, Bait Animals, or Illegal Hunting: Tragically, stolen animals can be used as bait animals in dogfighting rings, where they are pitted against aggressive dogs for training or entertainment. In the context of dogfighting, thieves may steal certain “powerbreeds” dogs to use them in dog fights. Some breeds might be stolen for hunting purposes.
  • Loneliness and Companionship: Some individuals may steal pets due to feelings of loneliness or a desire for companionship. They might believe that taking someone else’s pet will alleviate their emotional emptiness. We also have issues with people finding a lost pet and then just decide to keep them and not go through an adoption process. We consider this theft too.
  • Opportunistic Theft: Pets left unattended in yards, tied outside shops, or in unlocked cars become easy targets for opportunistic thieves.
  • Inadequate Laws and Penalties: Weak laws and lenient penalties for pet theft may not deter criminals from engaging in such activities.
  • Personal Use or Experimentation: In rare cases, pets might be stolen for personal use, even as food or for experimentation purposes, which is an especially alarming prospect.
  • Witches do live among us:  In our very town, there are individuals who would steal cats for offerings. This is one of the many reasons we believe your cat should also be kept safe in your yard and there are ways to do it!

How are animals stolen?
Animals can be stolen in various ways, and pet thieves often employ cunning tactics to carry out their crimes. Some common methods of pet theft include:

  • Unattended Pets: Pets left unattended in yards, tied up outside shops, or in parked cars are vulnerable targets for thieves. Sadly, irresponsible owners let their pets roam the streets too. They may quickly snatch the animal and flee the scene before anyone notices.
  • Petnapping: Petnapping involves physically taking a pet from its owner while they are walking the animal or playing in a park. Thieves may use distraction techniques or even threaten the owner to make their escape.
  • Breaking and Entering: In some cases, thieves might break into homes or vehicles to steal pets. This method is riskier for the criminals but may be employed if they believe valuable or specific breeds are inside the property.
  • Fraudulent “Buyers”: Thieves may pose as potential buyers to gain access to pets advertised for sale. Once they have the animal in their possession, they disappear without completing the transaction.
  • Online Scams: The internet provides a platform for thieves to exploit unsuspecting pet owners. They may create fake listings for lost or found pets to lure owners into revealing personal information or arrange meetups where they steal the animals.
  • Dog Walking or Pet Sitting Services: In rare cases, unscrupulous individuals offering pet services may steal animals while in their care.
  • Staged Accidents and Snares: Thieves may stage accidents involving pets to create confusion and chaos, allowing them to take the animal while the owner is distracted. Snares and traps are used to catch cats in fields.
  • Thieves Lure Animals to Them: Pet thieves lure dogs to fences/ walls or gates with food and once they are in reach, they will grab them and pull them over the wall or throw a rope around the dog and pull them over even high walls. They may also use tranquilizers before snatching the animal. A bitch in heat is used to lure a dog out of their property.

Offering rewards for lost pets can unintentionally create an incentive for pet theft, albeit in a limited number of cases. While the primary intention behind offering a reward is to encourage people to actively search for and return the lost pet, it can also attract unscrupulous individuals who see an opportunity to make quick money. Ultimately, while rewards can be a useful tool in finding lost pets, it is essential to use them judiciously and in combination with other methods to increase the likelihood of a safe and honest reunion with your furry companion.

A POISONING RISK IS HIGH WITH HOUSE BREAK-INS – Get your poison rescue packs for around R50 at your local shelters.  This can buy a few extra minutes to get your pet to the vet.

Pet theft is on the rise

Preventing Pet Theft:
Preventing pet theft requires a combination of vigilance, responsible pet ownership, and community awareness. Here are some practical tips to help safeguard your beloved animals from potential thieves:

  • Supervise Your Pet: Always keep a close eye on your pet when outside, especially in public places. Avoid leaving them unattended in yards, tied up outside shops, or alone in parked cars.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Trips in the Car:   Do not take your dogs for unnecessary trips in the car. If your vehicle is hijacked your dog will be taken as well.
  • Secure Your Property: Ensure that your home and yard are secure. Use sturdy locks and gates to prevent unauthorized access. Consider installing security cameras to monitor your property. If possible it is even safer for your pets if you ensure that your dogs cannot be lured to the front wall or gate.
  • Microchip and ID Tags: Microchip your pet and keep the contact information associated with the chip up-to-date. Additionally, have visible identification tags on your pet’s collar with your current contact details. I do not encourage putting the pet’s name on the tag because then thieves can call them by name. Microchips and tags can help increase the chances of recovering a stolen animal if they do go missing and proving ownership.
  • Be Cautious with Strangers: Be cautious when dealing with strangers interested in your pet, purchase, or to pet them. We don’t support the selling or giving away of animals, but always meet potential buyers in public places rather than at your home.
  • Avoid Sharing Too Much Online: Be careful about sharing detailed information about your pets on social media or online platforms. Posting specific details about your pet’s location or routines may inadvertently expose them to potential thieves.
  • Spay/Neuter Your Pet: Spaying or neutering your pet can reduce its desirability for thieves looking to breed animals illegally and neutered males will be less likely to wander off. Your spayed female will not attract males and cause them to roam the streets.
  • Training: Teach your pet reliable recall commands so that they come to you when called. This skill can help in situations where your pet may be getting too far from you or is approached by a stranger. Teach them to not take food from just anyone and to be careful of strangers.
  • Be Mindful of Your Surroundings: Pay attention to your surroundings when walking your pet. Stay alert to any suspicious individuals or activities in the area. Do not let young children or older individuals walk pets alone. Don’t be on your phone when walking your pet or listen to music that you can’t hear things happening around you.
  • Join or Start a Neighbourhood Watch: Participate in or create a neighbourhood watch program that includes pet owners. This can foster a sense of community and encourage people to look out for one another’s pets.
  • Report Suspicious Activity: Get to know your neighbours and their pets, if you suspect something seems off, contact your neighbours or report it to the local community watch group.
  • Support Stronger Laws: Advocate for stronger pet theft laws and penalties in your community and country. Engage with local authorities and lawmakers to address this issue effectively.
  • Educate Others: Spread awareness about pet theft and prevention methods among fellow pet owners, friends, and family members.
  • Limit Access by Others: If someone other than your family has access to the gate like a domestic worker, builders, or garden service, then have a stern talk about not leaving the gate open or letting the pets out. I do not leave my animals in such circumstances unless I can trust those individuals.
  • Let Pets Sleep Inside: A survey done under jailed thieves showed that the top deterrents that keep most from breaking in are: CCTV cameras, Detection beams, Electric fences, and most of all, animals that sleep in the house! Not only will they be able to alert you, but you will be able to protect them as many animals get killed, hit, cut, or poisoned during or before these robberies. It is not your pet’s duty to protect you, you must protect them.

By taking these proactive measures and staying cautious, you can reduce the risk of pet theft and increase the chances of reuniting with your pet if they do go missing. Remember, prevention is key to keeping your furry friends safe and secure.

Pet Theft NOT high on Police priority list:
In our country the police for the most part struggle to catch rapists, killers, and house thieves, so there is no way for us to believe that pet theft is high on their priority list. Pet theft is often a low-risk, high-reward crime for perpetrators. The covert nature of the act makes it challenging to gather concrete evidence, leaving law enforcement with few leads to follow. Unlike other crimes that may leave behind clear trails, pet theft can be difficult to trace, especially if the animals are sold through illegal channels, allowed to roam the streets or taken to different jurisdictions.

To address these challenges, law enforcement agencies must recognize the seriousness of pet theft and allocate sufficient resources for investigations. Creating specialized units or task forces dedicated to handling pet theft cases can help streamline efforts and improve outcomes. Additionally, establishing a unified database and reporting system for stolen pets nationwide would enhance information sharing and facilitate the tracking of stolen animals and identifying patterns. Additionally, communities and law enforcement should work together to raise awareness, tighten legislation, and impose stricter penalties on those involved in pet theft to discourage such criminal activities.

If YOUR pet is stolen:

  • If you suspect your pet is stolen, please report it to the nearest SAPS, alert your community and neighbourhood watch.
  • Contact neighbours with cameras to look for possible evidence.
  • Follow our lost and found animal guide.
  • Check lost and found pages from nearby towns as animals may be taken, sold or dumped there.

If you see what appears to be a suspicious sale happening, we advise you follow from a distance and contact your local welfare organizations to advise further steps. If it is safe to do so, take photos as evidence. Don’t just buy the animal and let the thieve be as this incentivizes further theft.

Collaboration with animal welfare organizations, community watch groups, and vigilant citizens can also strengthen the fight against pet theft. Organizations that work to prevent pet theft and reunite lost pets with their owners play a vital role in mitigating the impact of this crime. By supporting these organizations, raising awareness, and advocating for stricter laws, we can collectively strive to protect our beloved pets from falling victim to theft. Engaging the public in reporting suspicious activities and providing relevant information can be instrumental in identifying and catching pet thieves.

Pet theft is on the rise

Ultimately, pet theft is not only a violation of the law but also an assault on the bond between humans and their animal companions. Responsible pet ownership includes the duty of keeping our pets safe and protected. When we bring a pet into our lives, we become their guardians, and it is our responsibility to ensure their well-being and safety. By acknowledging the gravity of this crime and implementing proactive measures, we can work towards a safer environment for our beloved animal companions and bring those responsible for these heartless acts to justice.


Source: The Bulletin

Rabbit owners should know this

Image: Pexels

Rabbit owners should know this


While rabbits can make wonderful and charming pets for the right individuals, several factors contribute to the idea that having rabbits as pets may not be advised for everyone. It’s important to note that each pet and species has specific needs and considerations, and what might not be suitable for one person could be a perfect fit for another. Before we dig in, I have to mention that we do not support the keeping of exotic animals as pets or keeping animals in cages.


  • Complex Care Requirements: Rabbits have unique care needs that can be more complex than some other small pets. They require specific diets, housing, and socialization to ensure their well-being. Without proper care, rabbits can develop health issues that might be challenging to manage. Their sleeping patterns differ from humans and they can be very busy at night.
  • Diet: Their dietary requirements are not so straight forward and many do not understand this. One example about their diet which most owners don’t know is that carrots are to rabbits like sweets are to a child.
  • Social Nature: Rabbits are social animals that thrive on companionship. Keeping a single rabbit can lead to loneliness and behavioural problems. Having a pair of rabbits is often recommended, but this also requires careful introductions and monitoring.
  • Destructive Behaviour: Rabbits are natural chewers, and they can cause damage to furniture, cords, and other items if not provided with appropriate toys and outlets for their chewing behaviour.
  • Gentle Handling: Rabbits are prey animals and can be easily frightened. They require gentle and patient handling to build trust and prevent stress. Rabbits have fragile skeletons and a powerful kick and this means they can easily break their backs even with a kick, especially if not held correctly. See proper handling tips below.
  • Health Concerns: Rabbits are prone to various health issues, such as dental problems, digestive disorders, and respiratory infections. Regular veterinary care and attention are crucial to keep them healthy. They do not vocalize discomfort as much as a chinchilla or a dog. They can be in severe pain and busy dying and will still be absolutely silent.
  • Allergies and Sensitivities: Some people may have allergies to bunnies or their bedding. In most cases it is a hay-allergy, but there is no way around it as hay is a must-have for bunnies. It’s important to consider potential allergies within the household.
  • Long Lifespan: Rabbits have a relatively long lifespan, often around 8 to 12 years or even longer. This commitment should be carefully considered before bringing a rabbit into your home.
  • Educational Requirements: Many people are not fully aware of the specific needs and behaviours of rabbits. Proper education and research are essential to ensure you’re equipped to care for them adequately.
  • Lack of Veterinary Specialists: Finding a veterinarian with experience in rabbit care can be challenging in some areas, potentially leading to inadequate medical care. The protocols (pre & post) with sterilization are different from other pets. Most antibiotics can kill them, so you need a qualified and experienced exotic pet vet.

Image: Pexels

When it comes to housing needs, rabbits need ample space to move around and exercise. Free roaming is always best. It also wouldn’t work to have the bunnies in a smaller space for the night “to sleep”, because bunnies are actually very busy at night and don’t have the same sleeping pattern as us humans. A small hutch or cage is not sufficient for their well-being. Providing a safe and spacious environment can be demanding, especially for apartment dwellers or those with limited space.

Minimum requirements: Solid non-wire flooring. The enclosure must be at least 4-6 times the size of the rabbit when they are entirely stretched out and more if confined to this space most of the day. At least 0.7m² of enclosure space combined with at least 2.2m² of exercise space, for 1-2 rabbits. The smallest space should be big enough for the rabbit to hop across three times and stand without their ears touching the top. This should only be the space to keep them temporarily, they need way more space to thrive! The above is literally the absolute bare minimum size.

Did you know that rabbits can have a litter almost every month? Hundreds of rabbits are surrendered daily because there are just not enough homes. We often hear “My bunny is a single bunny, so I’m not going to sterilize them”, but it is about more than just having babies! There are many benefits to sterilizing your rabbit (by Critter rescue):

Health benefits

  • Longer life.
  • Decreased risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Decreased risk of cancer. Unspayed females are at very high risk of two potentially fatal conditions: Uterine cancer and pyometra (infection of the uterus/womb). Unneutered males occasionally develop cancer in their testes and prostate gland. Although the risk is small, castration removes that risk completely.

 Social benefits

  • With the absence of all those raging hormones, it is much easier to bond your bunny with a friend.
  • Fewer fights occur (especially between males).
  • Females (although it is still possible for them to experience a false pregnancy) no longer have to go through the emotional stress of trying to build a nest.
  • Territorial behavior calms down.

 Habitual benefits

  • Easier to litterbox train.
  • Destructive behavior decreases, but remember, bunnies are mischievous beings with or without those hormones.

When should I sterilize my bunny?

Sterilization should ideally occur as soon as the bunny has reached his or her sexual maturity.

  • Male: between 3-5 months of age.
  • Female: between 4-6 months of age.

Disclaimer: There are valid reasons as to why your bunny isn’t sterilized, valid medical reasons. The time of neutering until the time of infertility in males can be a few weeks, so take extra precautions during this time. Please always consult with your exotic pet vet.

Please sterilize your rabbits and other pets because we have a massive overpopulation crisis!


NEVER PICK THEM UP BY the ears, scruff, tail, or legs. It would be extremely stressful, will hurt, and is highly likely to injure them badly!

Rabbit handling – Image shared via The Paw Company

Get your rabbits used to human touch by socializing them early. Rabbits who aren’t handled regularly from a young age, or roughly handled at any age, may find human contact distressing.

Move slowly and talk quietly around rabbits so as not to startle them. They’re more likely to be relaxed in a quiet and calm handling environment.

Picking rabbits up when you’re close to ground level is less likely to scare them, and is also safer as it helps prevent them being dropped by accident from a height. We advise all interactions to take place on ground level when possible.

Supervise children at all times, and only adults or responsible older children should be allowed to pick up rabbits.

Safety is paramount when handling rabbits as their fragile spines can be seriously, or even fatally damaged if they feel insecure or struggle when held.

  • Hold rabbits gently, but firmly and ensure one hand supports their back and hindquarters at all times.
  • Help them feel secure by holding all four feet against your body.
  • Avoid placing rabbits on slippery surfaces. Placing a towel down can help make rabbits feel more secure.
  • Some sources suggest covering the eyes without covering the nares (nostrils), but talk to your bunny experts before you do this as not all will advise this.

You won’t believe how many people are so cruel and foolish! You should never release a captive animal into the wild! They will not be able to care for themselves and you will sign their death warrant when you dump a domesticated bunny in a park, veld, or open environment like a plot or farm. Rather safely surrender them to your nearest SPCA, the NSPCA wildlife unit, your nearest reputable rescue organization, or a nearby wildlife rehabilitation center.

Domestic vs Wild/Feral Bunnies (by Critter Rescue)

Wild/feral rabbits adapted to their environment and know how to look for food and shelter and how to avoid predators. They have a natural instinct that developed from birth to survive in those environments. They adapt well to cold, hot, and wet weather.  

Domestic bunnies on the other hand, need (and wait for you to bring them) fresh foods and a balanced pellet diet with unlimited hay. They need you to groom them regularly and take them to a vet for parasite control and dental checks. Domestic bunnies also don’t adapt well to hot, cold, and wet weather and when released will die of heatstroke or get sick from wet and cold weather.

They don’t know how to properly identify predators as they are used to staying with you and in most cases were exposed to dogs, cats, and birds. Now they run around in an unknown area looking for food and shelter and suddenly they find themselves being ripped apart. If they are lucky enough the shock will kill them instantly but most aren’t. When they suffer from shock they freeze and that is when they get eaten alive. They can feel everything but can’t go anywhere.  

Your domestic bunny will fall pregnant, have her babies, and then have to sit and watch while they are being eaten and there is nothing she can do about it. She feeds her young at dusk and leaves the nest to keep predators away but they will still find their way to the nest and when she returns at dawn to feed again, she will find them gone or dead.

These are just some of the things that can go wrong with domestic bunnies after being released in the wild.  


  • If you see neglected rabbits (or any animal) please REPORT it to your local SPCA or the NSPCA.
  • Check your local BYLAWS on whether you need a PERMIT for keeping certain animals in your province as well as a possible travel permit when you move them.
  • If you’re concerned about your rabbit’s behaviour, seek veterinary advice from an exotic vet that specializes in rabbits, to rule out any form of illness or injury that could be causing problems.

Then please do your homework and do not buy one on impulse. Rabbits are social species and prefer to live in groups. If you decide to own a rabbit, always have at least 2 rabbits, but please understand behaviour and bonding before you just get another rabbit. However, if you don’t have the room or time or money to keep two rabbits you will need to become your rabbit’s companion.

Always ADOPT, DON’T SHOP because it is the only ethical option. Contact Critter Rescue SA for free care sheets and items for rabbits or to adopt. Another great rabbit resource is The House Rabbit Society.

We do not support keeping rabbits as pets and especially not as starter pets for kids, contrary to popular belief. They are often impulse buys, bought at markets and pet shops. Their care is not as straightforward as some other animals and handling them wrong can be fatal! If you do decide to get any one of these species, then you need to do proper research to meet all their needs and commit to their whole life!

Your bunny didn’t ask to be here and didn’t get a choice in the matter, you forced them to live with you. Your bunny didn’t know that you will lose interest and keep him or her locked up in a small cage until one day you decide to get rid of them. There lives are short compared to humans so give them the life a sentient being deserves!


Source: The Bulletin

“FREE TO GOOD HOME” ADS Are animal russian roulette!

Image: Pixabay

“FREE TO GOOD HOME” ADS Are animal russian roulette!

The hidden dangers of giving animals away for free

In the world of animal welfare and pet ownership, there exists a “well-intentioned” but often overlooked practice that can lead to unforeseen consequences for our furry companions and the humans who open their homes to them. It’s the act of giving animals away for free, a seemingly generous gesture that, more often than not, conceals a host of concerns and challenges. While the intention behind such acts may be “innocent”, the reality is far more complex. When you give animals away for free or sell them to strangers, you play Russian Roulette with the lives of sentient beings.

Facebook doesn’t allow the selling of animals on their platform, but unfortunately, they don’t seem to have a problem with free animals.  There is a local group that promotes free animals.  Most of us in animal welfare get blocked there.  When I recently engaged with one of their admins via messenger, asking if they understood what they were doing, this individual responded with: “People want to sell them, and she is just keeping order in the group and being an admin.”  She also has the mentality that if it is not against the law so, it is acceptable.  Something doesn’t have to be illegal to be immoral, dangerous or unethical.

In this article, we delve into the hidden pitfalls of giving animals away without a “price tag”. Your intentions might be considered well-meaning, but here we will share some reasons why anyone who actually cares should seriously reconsider “free to good home” ads!

Not a good home, but a good placement

Our biggest challenge in an overwhelmed animal welfare system is the massive overpopulation crisis fuelled by irresponsible owners, breeders, pet shops that sell animals, those who give them away for free to strangers, and those who support these practices. There are not enough homes for every domestic animal and that is why we so fiercely advocate for spay and neutering.  

So, if there are not enough homes, how many good homes do you think there are? What do you consider a good home?

Sadly, a “good home” means very little in today’s society. What people don’t seem to understand, is that whether they sell, buy, give an animal away for free, or adopt, it is never just about a good home, but about a good placement for that animal. The needs of the animal should come first, always! Paying for an animal or having a big yard and money is no guarantee that they will be taken care of and loved as they deserve.

How can you guarantee it is a good home? Do you really know what we consider a good home? You most likely can’t because you are not trained to do this. Animal rescuers can share hundreds of stories about this that ended up in horror situations for those animals.

Some reasons why “FREE TO GOOD HOME” ADS are dangerous

From the lack of screening and financial considerations to the risk of exploitation and the consequences of insufficient education, we will shed light on the concerns that surround the practice of giving animals away for free. By examining these issues, we aim to encourage a more thoughtful and responsible approach like pet adoption, one that prioritizes the welfare of animals and ensures that their new homes are loving, safe, and prepared to meet their unique needs.

Giving animals away for free can raise several concerns, both for the welfare of the animals and the people involved. Some of the main concerns include:


Giving animals away for free contributes to pet overpopulation, well more than contributes….it fuels it. In SA on a daily basis an average of 2800 (yes two zeros and yes daily) healthy animals are humanely killed because there are just not enough homes.  Without responsible breeding practices and adoption fees, there may be less incentive for people to spay/neuter their pets, leading to more unwanted litters. How many of the free animals do you think are sterilized? Usually only a few exceptions and this just continues the cycle.


When animals are given away for free, there is often minimal or no screening of potential owners. This can lead to animals being placed in homes where they may not receive proper care, or attention, or even be subjected to abuse.

Those who failed the adoption process are on the list too. Some people could not get animals through reputable shelters, so now they troll these “free to good home” posts. There is a reason that shelters reject some people, whom those who do not work in animal welfare, would consider “good homes”. So, chances are high that someone who asks for animals online, free or to buy, might have been rejected by reputable organizations already.

If these animals are not re-homed properly with home checks and sterilization, through the SPCA or reputable animal welfare organizations, these animals, countless times, end up in the wrong hands!


Free animals can be attractive to individuals who may not have the best intentions. Some people may acquire free animals with the intention of:

  • Reselling them for profit.

There are speculators which means the person can make a pure profit by selling these animals instead of having to care for mothers and litters. They collect the “free to good home” or buy litters only after they have found buyers.

These “free to good home” animals are targets for animal dealers too. They take these animals and also sell them for profit. They can be sold to other people as pets, to breeders, puppy mills, for animal trades like skin or for racing, as security animals, and to laboratories for animal testing to mention a few. Some call them “flippers”. Trailers full of dogs and other animals are found at borders and other places by authorities. 

  • Using them for illegal purposes.

Dog fighters may take the power breeds to use in fights and bait dogs (other breeds and species including cats) can easily be obtained through these adverts and used in fights too. Bait animals are used for sparring and building up aggression of the pedigree or power breed, like a pre-show for the main event. Some take these animals to abuse them, to rape them, to offer them as sacrifices (yes, we have witches that live in our community).

  • Used as food. In some cases, these animals are used as food for humans and other animals.

Animal dealers troll these ads too and are “experts” when it comes to fooling most. They pretend to care for the animals in front of you and if you are not trained to spot them, like those who work in animal welfare, you will be fooled and an animal will pay the price. There are literally animal brokers who will meet you at a different house or even have a fake Facebook profile where it looks like they love animals.


Owning a pet comes with various expenses, including food, veterinary care, grooming, and more. If someone cannot afford to adopt a pet, they may struggle to provide for the animal’s needs, potentially leading to neglect or abandonment.


People who acquire pets for free may not be as committed to their care as those who invest time and money for adoption, not that it is a guarantee either. This can result in impulsive buying, with some owners giving up on the animal when they no longer want the responsibility.


Free animals may not have received necessary vaccinations, veterinary care, or proper socialization. This can lead to health and behavioural problems for the animal and potential risks to other pets and humans in the community.


When animals are given away without any educational resources or support, new owners may not have the knowledge and skills needed to care for the pet properly. This can result in behaviour problems and animal suffering.

To address these concerns, many animal welfare organizations and shelters charge adoption fees and conduct thorough screening processes to ensure that animals are placed in responsible, loving homes. These fees help cover the costs of care and can act as a barrier to impulsive or ill-prepared adopters, ensuring a better quality of life for the animals. Additionally, providing educational resources and support to new pet owners can help ensure the well-being of the animals and reduce the risk of abandonment or neglect.

Where does “FREE TO GOOD HOME” stock come from?

Free to good home “stock” usually comes from backyard breeders, irresponsible owners, or those who do not want animals anymore because it is inconvenient for them. Someone in a difficult situation, the very few exceptions, will do re-homing through a responsible organization.

No animal is actually FREE

The “buying price” is but a small expense compared to their care by a responsible pet guardian (owner).  Usually, the veterinary bill for first vaccinations, de-worming, tick and flea treatment, and sterilization will fall on the new owner and this will remain an expense during the animal’s lifespan. If you are at all a responsible pet owner you will need to pay for sterilization as well as spend on proper food, toys, and shelter in addition to securing your yard properly. All this will easily be more than R2000! Do you think someone who asks for free animals will do the above? Can you guarantee they will?

Yes, we don’t support selling and yes, we don’t support “free to good home”, so what do we support?  ADOPT DON’T SHOP! Adoption from reputable organizations is the only kind of “trading” of animals we support and the only ethical option.  These organizations will do an adoption application, home check, sterilization, adoption contract, and follow-ups.  That’s responsible. Note that there are registered organizations that do not do this. Don’t support them!

Responsible adoption practices are essential for the well-being of our beloved pets. The complexities of pet ownership demand careful consideration, commitment, and financial responsibility. The fact remains that millions of animals are euthanized annually because there are just not enough homes for all the animals and even far fewer good homes.

How can you help?

  • Educate your friends and family on this topic and share our posts.
  • Report any such post on the social media platform and to your local welfare organizations. Facebook doesn’t allow the selling of animals, so report it too.
  • Spay and neuter your animals and don’t give them away for free (nor sell them).
  • Rehome your pets through reputable organizations if you can’t take care of them.
  • Please stop supporting the “free to good home” ads. 
  • Stop supporting breeders, pet shops, and animal dealers.
  • Stop being mad at shelters and start blaming breeders (of any kind), irresponsible pet owners, and every single person who gives animals away for free as if they are objects and not sentient beings.
  • Adopt don’t shop.  Adoption is the only ethical option!

Are you willing to take these risks with an animal’s life? If these people really cared about these animals, they would let them be adopted through a responsible organization because irresponsible homing hurts animals.

The act of giving animals away for free, while maybe well-intentioned, can lead to a myriad of problems that impact the welfare of both animals and humans. Let us strive for a future where the act of giving animals away for free is replaced by a culture of responsible and compassionate pet adoption. In doing so, we can create a world where every animal enjoys the love, security, and respect it truly deserves. By uniting our efforts, we can pave the way for a brighter and more humane future for pets and their human companions alike.


Source: The Bulletin

Prisoners for profit

Image: Pixabay

Prisoners for profit

NO Animal should be used for human entertainment, or imprisoned for profit!!

In the realm of human entertainment, the symbiotic relationship between animals and society has been both a source of wonder and controversy and animals have been included in many human leisure activities. However, the use of animals for human amusement is a topic that stirs ethical debates and raises questions about the intersection of entertainment, conservation, and the well-being of these creatures. This complex interplay between the desire for amusement and the responsibility toward the welfare of animals continues to shape the evolving narrative of animals in human entertainment.

The use of animals for entertainment has a long history that dates back to ancient civilizations. The first recorded instances of animal entertainment can be traced to ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece. Many animals were and are still used for blood sports.

Here are some examples of where animals are used for entertainment and profit:


The concept of circuses, as we know them today, started to take shape in the 18th and 19th centuries. These traveling shows often featured trained animals performing tricks and acts, becoming a popular form of entertainment in many parts of the world. While some circuses have transitioned to animal-free shows due to ethical concerns, the use of animals in circuses has historically been a prominent form of entertainment.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, aquatic entertainment parks, like marine parks and aquariums, gained popularity. These venues showcased trained dolphins, seals, and whales performing in aquatic displays. Zoos date back even further.

Do you remember how you hated lockdown?  Watch this video on the permanent lockdowns animals are forced into in these industries where they are imprisoned for life for human profit.


Horse racing is a popular sport where horses compete in races for entertainment and gambling. Our concerns include the welfare, the use of performance-enhancing substances and the potential for injuries, the disposal of the horses when they can’t be used for profit anymore and that is not all.


In some tourist destinations, animals like elephants, camels, and horses are used to provide rides to visitors. These practices have faced criticism due to concerns about the welfare of the animals, as they may endure long hours of work, inadequate living conditions, and physical strain. When you look at the anatomy of these animals, you will also be concerned.


Rodeos involve events where cowboys and cowgirls compete in various activities involving livestock, such as bull riding, calf roping, and bronc riding. These events can cause stress and injuries to the animals involved.


Falconry is an ancient practice where trained birds of prey are used to hunt animals. While it’s considered a cultural heritage in some regions, debates arise over the ethics of keeping wild birds in captivity for human entertainment. I also do not support the use of flight doves for competition and human entertainment.


Petting zoos allow visitors to interact with domesticated and sometimes exotic or wild animals. While they aim to provide hands-on educational experiences, I cannot in good conscience support it because for me, it is about the animals’ mental health, stress levels and exposure to potentially harmful human contact, and that is apart from the other welfare concerns.


The same goes for sanctuaries. True sanctuaries understand this well. Let us look at lions for example: Early removal of cubs from mom so they can be used for tourists’ interaction and petting farms is one.  The older cubs are used for lion walks some lions are sold and taken to be hunted or slaughtered for bones other lions are sold for breeding and this cycle repeats!


Catch-and-release fishing, as a form of human entertainment, involves anglers catching fish and then releasing them back into the water. This practice is pursued primarily for recreational enjoyment rather than for consuming the caught fish. People do it for the thrill of the fishing experience but how do you justify hurting animals on purpose, taking them out of the water, and more?


These practices are ancient and much of it has gone “underground” in recent years since it is illegal, but it is still happening and a sad reality that animal welfare organizations deal with frequently. Read more on this topic here.


Apart from the fact that about 2800 healthy animals are euthanized (humanely killed) EVERY DAY IN SA because there are just not enough homes, exploiting animals for financial benefit, for status, or fun is one of the worst forms where animals are kept as prisoners for profit.  There are so many negative consequences when people prioritize profit over the well-being of animals.  No breeding is responsible or ethical when we have a massive overpopulation crisis. These animals are kept and bred (which brings its own risks) until they can’t make money for the person anymore and are then dumped at shelters and disposed of in other ways. 

Some entertainment industries, such as circuses with performing animals, can contribute to a cycle of captive breeding and the demand for wild animals, potentially encouraging illegal wildlife trade and unsustainable practices.


Dog shows feature various breeds of dogs competing in events that evaluate their conformation to breed standards. These events are meant to showcase the dogs’ appearance, agility, and obedience too. Here, part of our concerns goes with the breeding for appearance and how that can lead to health issues, and how the emphasis on aesthetics can overshadow the animals’ well-being. In addition, these animals are also subjected to being caged and transported regularly which is not acceptable for us.


Hunting is deeply entrenched in the South African culture, but also an industry of entertainment that exploits animals and which warrants a whole article for itself, for example, trophy hunting, canned lion hunting, driven hunts, hunting with dogs who can get hurt and green hunting are some of the big concerns here. Fox hunting is also a topic on his own when it comes to cruelty. We likely won’t change everyone to vegans, hunt and eat, but when you start to do it for fun, trophy hunt, put up pictures of your killing to get likes for your ego then you are entering the dark psychology personality traits.

These examples highlight just some of the diverse ways in which animals have been used for human entertainment, sparking discussions about ethics, animal welfare, and the evolving understanding of our responsibilities towards the creatures that share our planet.


The ethical debate surrounding the use of animals in entertainment stems from a range of concerns related to their well-being, rights, and dignity. Several key points contribute to this ongoing discussion, but for me, there should not even be a debate. Thousands, if not millions of animals are held captive to entertain humans and not one of them had a choice!


One of the primary concerns is the welfare of animals involved in entertainment activities. In the entertainment industry, animals are treated as commodities to generate profits. This focus on financial gain can lead to the animals being neglected, overworked, or subjected to harmful training techniques.

The captivity, training methods, transport, forcing them to do tricks, and living conditions in settings like circuses, theme parks, and zoos can lead to stress, physical harm, and psychological suffering for the animals. The confined spaces, unfamiliar environments, and sometimes unnatural behaviours demanded by entertainment routines can compromise their health and quality of life.


Animals have intrinsic value and deserve to live their lives free from exploitation and harm. Using animals as mere props for human amusement can be seen as a violation of their inherent rights to live according to their natural behaviours and environments. Animals are sentient beings capable of feeling pain, stress, and emotions. It is morally wrong to use them for human amusement and it goes against the principles of respecting the intrinsic value of all living creatures.


The methods used to train animals for entertainment purposes often involve coercion, punishment, and confinement. These techniques can cause physical and emotional distress, leading to negative consequences for the animals’ well-being. It doesn’t matter what the circus or zoo claim they do, what we see in these animals’ eyes is a life they do not choose.


Some argue that animals in entertainment can serve as educational tools, raising awareness about different species and their conservation needs. However, this argument is contentious, as it raises questions about whether animals’ educational value justifies their captivity and potential suffering. A three-year-old can tell you a lot about a dinosaur that they have never seen in real life.  I believe that education can be achieved without subjecting animals to stressful or unnatural conditions and that focusing on their conservation in the wild is more effective.


Many entertainment scenarios require animals to perform behaviours that are unnatural to them. For instance, circus animals may be trained to perform tricks, jump through fire, and balance on a ball, which doesn’t reflect their natural behaviours. We argue that this can confuse and stress the animals, impacting their mental and emotional health.


Removing animals from their natural habitats for entertainment purposes can disrupt ecosystems and contribute to the decline of certain species. Recognizing animals’ place within the larger ecological system is essential. Every species has a role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems, and using them for entertainment can disrupt these delicate interactions.


The decision to support or reject the use of animals for entertainment holds significant implications for the lessons we impart to our children. By choosing to support animal entertainment, we risk reinforcing notions of animals as mere commodities, potentially stifling empathy, and disconnecting them from the natural world. Such a stance can normalize the exploitation of sentient beings for amusement, teaching children that this is an acceptable part of human interaction with animals. It’s important to consider both the intended and unintended lessons they might learn.

Here are some potential lessons that supporting such practices might teach your child:

Animals as Commodities: Supporting animal entertainment can inadvertently teach children that animals are objects to be used for human enjoyment rather than sentient beings with their own needs, emotions, and rights.

Lack of Empathy: Children may not develop a strong sense of empathy towards animals if they see them being treated as props or performers rather than beings deserving of respect and care.

Disconnection from Nature: Encouraging entertainment that exploits animals might distance children from the understanding that animals are part of the natural world and ecosystems, contributing to a lack of appreciation for biodiversity and the environment.

Normalization of Exploitation: Children might come to see the exploitation of animals as a normal and acceptable part of human entertainment, potentially perpetuating a cycle of unethical treatment in the future.

Misunderstanding Animal Behaviour: Entertainment routines often involve animals performing behaviours that are unnatural to them. This can lead to misconceptions about animal behaviour and perpetuate stereotypes that don’t align with the animals’ true nature.

The decision to reject animal entertainment can be an opportunity to teach children about ethical considerations, critical thinking, and making informed choices based on principles and values.

Responsibility: Encouraging children to respect and value all forms of life fosters a sense of responsibility for the well-being of animals and contributes to their understanding of the interconnectedness of life on Earth.

Stewardship of the Planet: Teaching children about the importance of conserving and protecting animals and their habitats helps instill a sense of responsibility for the environment and future generations.

Critical Thinking: Engaging children in discussions about the ethics of animal entertainment encourages them to think critically and form their own opinions based on evidence and thoughtful consideration.

Ultimately, the messages you convey to your child about animal entertainment will shape their attitudes and beliefs about animals, their role in the world, and their responsibility toward them. Choosing to support ethical forms of entertainment or activities that prioritize the well-being of animals can help children develop empathy, compassion, and a deep respect for all living beings, their rights, and their dignity. The path we choose reflects our collective responsibility to nurture not only the well-being of animals but also the values we hope to pass down to the generations that follow.


Over time, public attitudes have evolved, with more people becoming conscious of animal welfare and rights. This shift in perspective has led to increased scrutiny of practices that may have been deemed acceptable in the past. With advancements in technology, virtual reality, and animatronics, there are alternatives to using live animals for entertainment. These alternatives can provide similar experiences without subjecting animals to potential harm or distress.

I have seen some amazing, captivating, and inspiring performances by humans, drawing us into a world of grace, strength, and mystery. These talented individuals had a choice to entertain you when the animals don’t!

In conclusion, the ethical concerns, animal welfare considerations, and the evolving understanding of animals’ role in our world have prompted many to advocate against using animals for entertainment. Advocates stress the importance of respecting animals as sentient beings and finding more compassionate and sustainable ways to appreciate and interact with the animal kingdom.

Encouraging open dialogue, critical thinking, and empathy is key to fostering a deeper understanding of the ethical considerations surrounding these complex issues. It’s important for individuals to be informed consumers and to support ethical practices that prioritize the health and welfare of animals over profit.

Changing the public’s perception of using animals for entertainment is a complex process that requires a combination of education, awareness-building, and advocacy. You can help:

  • Make informed choices that align with your values and contribute to positive change.
  • Support and promote legislative efforts aimed at improving animal welfare standards and prohibiting the use of animals as entertainment.
  • Help us raise awareness and educate others about this topic.
  • Promoting ethical alternatives can lead to a shift in attitudes and behaviours, ultimately contributing to a world where animals are treated with respect and compassion.
  • Most of all, stop supporting these industries that imprison animals for profit. If it pays it will stay!

It can never be ethical to use animals for human entertainment. Your hour of entertainment means a lifetime of enslavement for them. Don’t be captured by captivity!


Source: The Bulletin

Choose compassion over circus


Image: Pixabay

Choose compassion over circus

Why YOU shouldn’t support the circus and what you are teaching your kids if you do.

The circus has long been a source of entertainment for families around the world, promising a magical experience filled with wonder and excitement. However, beneath the colourful facade and dazzling performances lies a troubling reality that has sparked growing concerns over the years. This article aims to shed light on why parents should consider alternatives to traditional circuses, with a particular focus on the ethical issues surrounding the exploitation of animals for human entertainment.

As society becomes increasingly aware of animal welfare issues, public opinion has shifted away from supporting circuses that use animals. Many countries and cities have implemented bans or restrictions on the use of animals in circuses in response to these concerns. By attending such circuses, parents inadvertently support practices that are widely seen as outdated and unethical.

People tend to not think about the “behind the scenes” and the welfare aspect of the animals when they go to enjoy the circus. No matter what the owners tell you and whether you think they are pampered or not, ANIMALS DO NOT BELONG IN THE CIRCUS. I wouldn’t trust anything from someone who thinks it is acceptable to exploit animals anyway. It is what you can’t see that is the problem!


Images by The Paw Company



One of the most distressing ethical concerns surrounding animals in circuses is the lack of freedom to exhibit natural behaviours and forcing them to do unnatural tricks. Wild animals, such as elephants, big cats, and bears, have evolved over millennia to thrive in their natural environments, engaging in activities like roaming vast territories, hunting, socializing, and caring for their young. In the circus, these fundamental behaviours are stifled, as animals are downgraded to confined spaces and compelled to perform unnatural tricks. This not only leads to physical and psychological distress but also fundamentally deprives these creatures of the right to be themselves.

Elephants, lions, tigers, and chimpanzees for example, naturally social creatures, suffer in circuses where they’re separated from their mothers at a young age and isolated from their natural behaviours and environment. These performances force them into unnatural acts, like tigers leaping through fire or elephants balancing on their heads. The circus takes these animals far from their natural habitats and disrupts their social structures, resulting in behavioural and health issues stemming from the captivity they endure.

These animals, of which many are inherently wild, deserve to live in their natural habitats, and not be forced to entertain audiences with unnatural behaviour to make money for the owners.


While on the road, circus animals endure harsh conditions, often crammed into filthy, sweltering, and poorly ventilated tractor trailers. In one of these trucks, an elephant named Heather tragically succumbed to heat exhaustion. Outside of training and performances, these animals spend most of their lives confined in chains or small cages. Circus animals, during the average 48-week circus tour, have limited space, just enough to stand and turn around. This starkly contrasts with their wild counterparts, such as elephants that roam up to 195 km per day, underscoring the stark difference between their cruel circus life and their natural habitat.

This constant travel can have severe physical and psychological effects on the animals. They are frequently confined to small cages or trailers for extended periods, leading to muscle atrophy, joint problems, and stress-related health issues. Additionally, the long journeys between performances can disrupt their natural sleep patterns and routines, further exacerbating their stress and discomfort.

For parents concerned about the well-being of animals, recognizing the toll that this nomadic lifestyle takes on them should be an additional reason to avoid circuses that use animals.


Wild animals in circuses endure extreme stress due to the disruptive circus environment, including blaring music, cheering crowds, and disorienting lights. They suffer through transportation, training, and performances in cramped spaces, leading to stress-related illnesses, depression, anxiety, and frustration stemming from unnatural behaviours and social isolation. These prolonged conditions can result in abnormal behaviours like swaying, head-bobbing, and incessant pacing, sometimes even self-harm. Circus animals are denied essential elements of their lives, such as running, playing, and socializing without a schedule to perform. In moments of overwhelming stress, some have been known to go on rampages, causing property damage, injuries, and even deaths, with the animals often paying the ultimate price.

The sensory overload in circus environments, including blaring music, flashing lights, and overwhelming smells, can have a profoundly distressing impact on the animals involved, whether you are used to it or not. These heightened sensory stimuli can induce stress and anxiety. The constant exposure to unnatural scents, such as paint, food, and fuel, can overwhelm their highly sensitive senses, further contributing to their discomfort and disorientation.

For parents concerned about the well-being of animals, the harsh sensory environment of circuses serves as another compelling reason to choose alternative, animal-free entertainment options that prioritize the mental and emotional health of these animals.

In addition to the above, the captive state that these poor animals experience, often leads to shorter lifespans and physical disabilities, due to a lack of any natural exercise and the extreme daily confinement. Joint problems are particularly common among elephants, lions, and tigers as they would naturally roam over distances, something that circus animals never get to experience.


Circus animals’ training is often misrepresented, creating a false image that they perform willingly. Behind closed doors, investigators have documented trainers’ use of brutal tools like bullhooks, whips, and electric prods, causing injuries such as bleeding, bruising, and broken bones. Are you so naïve to think that these animals do unnatural tricks because you ask nicely? Some of these circuses often refuse voluntary entry of animals welfare authorities and have had multiple warnings given about the conditions the animals are in. Why would you do this if you have nothing to hide? Why would you need to be told how to take better care of animals, if you are in this industry for so long?


Images by The Paw Company


Some argue that animals in entertainment can serve as educational tools, raising awareness about different species and their conservation needs. However, this argument is contentious, as it raises questions about whether animals’ educational value justifies their captivity and potential suffering. A three-year-old can tell you a lot about a dinosaur that they have never seen in real life.  I believe that education can be achieved without subjecting animals to stressful or unnatural conditions and that focusing on their conservation in the wild is more effective.

The circus perpetuates harmful stereotypes and misconceptions about these creatures, their behaviour and conservation, reinforcing the idea that animals exist for human amusement and can be used as commodities.

When a school except these free or discounted tickets, I seriously question if they are what is good for shaping my child.

Read more on why you should not support any circus that uses animals for entertainment and why these animals are prisoners for profit in the entertainment industry being exploited for human entertainment.


The decision to support or reject the use of animals for entertainment holds significant implications for the lessons we impart to our children. By choosing to support animal entertainment, we risk reinforcing notions of animals as mere commodities, potentially stifling empathy, and disconnecting them from the natural world. Such a stance can normalize the exploitation of sentient beings for amusement, teaching children that this is an acceptable part of human interaction with animals. It’s important to consider both the intended and unintended lessons they might learn.

Here are some potential lessons that supporting such practices might teach your child:

Animals as Commodities: Supporting animal entertainment can inadvertently teach children that animals are objects to be used for human enjoyment rather than sentient beings with their own needs, emotions, and rights.

Lack of Empathy & Compassion: Children may not develop a strong sense of empathy towards animals if they see them being treated as props or performers rather than beings deserving of respect and care. Parents who take their children to such circuses inadvertently endorse the suppression of natural behaviours, undermining the principles of compassion and respect for all living beings.

Disconnection from Nature: Encouraging entertainment that exploits animals might distance children from the understanding that animals are part of the natural world and ecosystems, contributing to a lack of appreciation for biodiversity and the environment. By opting for animal-free entertainment options that allow animals to live in environments that mimic their natural habitats, parents can demonstrate a commitment to preserving the dignity and inherent rights of these magnificent creatures.

Normalization of Exploitation: Children might come to see the exploitation of animals as a normal and acceptable part of human entertainment, potentially perpetuating a cycle of unethical treatment in the future.

Misunderstanding Animal Behaviour: Entertainment routines often involve animals performing behaviours that are unnatural to them. This can lead to misconceptions about animal behaviour and perpetuate stereotypes that don’t align with the animals’ true nature.

The decision to reject animal entertainment can be an opportunity to teach children about ethical considerations, critical thinking, and making informed choices based on principles and values. Ultimately, the messages you convey to your child about animal entertainment will shape their attitudes and beliefs about animals, their role in the world, and their responsibility toward them. Choosing to support ethical forms of entertainment or activities that prioritize the well-being of animals can help children develop empathy, compassion, and a deep respect for all living beings, their rights, and their dignity. The path we choose reflects our collective responsibility to nurture not only the well-being of animals but also the values we hope to pass down to the generations that follow.


Images by The Paw Company


Parents who are genuinely interested in educating their children about the importance of caring for animals and wildlife conservation should seek out alternative educational opportunities where what is best for the animals are the top priority. Human interaction with them, is never what is best for them!

There are so many entertaining circuses that don’t exploit animals, but use true human talents. Support them! Join a demonstration and encourage your friends and family members to shun animal circuses by sharing this information. Be an example for your kids.

In conclusion, while the circus may offer a tempting escape into a world of wonder and awe, it’s essential for parents to consider the ethical implications of their choices. The use of animals in circuses raises significant concerns about exploitation, safety, education, and changing societal values. By opting for alternative and ethical forms of entertainment and educational experiences that do not involve animal exploitation, parents can send a powerful message about the importance of compassion, empathy, and ethical responsibility to their children. In doing so, they contribute to a brighter future for both animals and the generations to come.

WATCH this short video on the sad reality of animals in captivity. Do you remember how you felt during lockdown? This is their life.


Images by The Paw Company

Your hour of fun means a lifetime of enslavement for them. Entertainment should not come at the expense of the well-being of animals and people alike. Instead, parents can choose to support circuses and entertainment options that prioritize human talent and creativity over the use and exploitation of animals.

Taking your kids to the circus is not “just for fun or innocent”, it shows a lack of compassion and understanding. When you go home, they go back into a cage and you paid for it. Captivity is not education…..don’t be captured by it.

We will fight, not until cages are comfortable, but until they are empty! Thank you to each responsible, intelligent and compassionate parents who SAY NO TO THE CIRUCS!


Source: The Bulletin

World Animal Day


World Animal Day

Raising the status of animals to improve welfare standards around the globe.

World Animal Day, observed on October 4th each year, is a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness about animal rights and advocating for their welfare. This day serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of acknowledging the intrinsic value of animals and the need to protect and care for them. In this article, we will explore why animal rights are essential and provide ideas on how people can celebrate this significant day.


Animal rights encompass the ethical and moral considerations of how animals should be treated. It emphasizes that animals have intrinsic value and should not be subjected to unnecessary suffering or exploitation. Understanding why animal rights matter is crucial to creating a more compassionate and just world for all living creatures. Here are some compelling reasons why animal rights are important:

Ethical Considerations: Animals, like humans, are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, pleasure, and a range of emotions. Treating animals with kindness and respect aligns with fundamental principles of compassion and empathy.

Environmental Impact: The treatment of animals in industrial agriculture, deforestation, and habitat destruction have far-reaching consequences on the environment. Protecting animal habitats and conserving biodiversity are essential for maintaining a healthy planet.

Public Health: The well-being of animals is closely linked to human health. Zoonotic diseases can emerge when animals are subjected to stressful and unsanitary conditions.

Conservation Efforts: Many species are at risk of extinction due to human activities. Recognizing animal rights is essential for conservation efforts and preserving the Earth’s incredible biodiversity.

Moral Progress: The way society treats animals reflects its moral progress. Acknowledging and respecting animal rights is indicative of a society’s commitment to justice, equality, and empathy.



World Animal Day is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and communities to come together to promote animal welfare and advocate for their rights. World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilizing it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals. Each one of us can make a difference – together we can bring change! Be part of the solution!

Here are some meaningful ways to celebrate this day:

Volunteer at Animal Shelters: Spend the day volunteering at a local animal shelter or rescue organization. You can help care for animals, clean their living spaces, or assist with adoption events. Your time and effort can make a significant difference in their lives.

Adopt a Pet: Adopt a pet from a shelter instead of purchasing one from a breeder or pet store and contributing to the massive overpopulation crisis. Countless animals are waiting for loving homes. By adopting, you not only save a life but also support responsible pet ownership.

Raise Awareness: Spread awareness about animal rights by organizing educational events, workshops, or seminars in your local community. Invite experts to discuss the importance of animal welfare and the ways people can get involved.

Support Animal Conservation Efforts: Donate to organizations dedicated to conserving endangered species and protecting animal habitats. Your financial support can aid in critical conservation initiatives.

Live Kinder: Support the life in your own backyard, the small ecosystems, animals, and insects that live around your home. Say no to pesticides and poisons.

Advocate for Legislation: Write letters or lobby for animal welfare legislation in your region or country. Advocate for stricter animal cruelty laws, bans on certain practices (like trophy hunting or fur farming), and stronger protections for wildlife.

Encourage Responsible Pet Ownership: Educate pet owners about responsible care practices, such as spaying and neutering, regular veterinary check-ups, and proper training and socialization, enrichment, and more. Promote the importance of microchipping and pet identification and keeping your pets safe in your yard.

Create Art and Share Stories: Use your creativity to create art, poetry, or stories that celebrate animals and highlight their unique qualities. Share your work on social media to inspire others to appreciate and protect animals.

Organize Fundraisers: Host fundraising events to collect donations for animal welfare organizations. You can organize food drives, charity runs, or online crowdfunding campaigns to support the cause.

Adopt a Sustainable Lifestyle: Make choices that contribute to a more sustainable and animal-friendly world. Use cruelty-free products, reduce single-use plastics, and support businesses that prioritize environmental and animal welfare practices.

Organize Clean-ups: Organize a community clean-up because plastic and other trash are harmful to the environment and the animals.

Reduce Animal Food Products: We accept that most humans will likely not become vegans, but you can reduce your meat intake and consumption of animal products to reduce animal suffering.

Support Ethical Hunting: Unfortunately there are many unethical hunting practices supported by our people, like hunting with dogs, green hunting, canned lion hunting, driven hunts, and more. Opt for ethical hunting.

Choose Cruelty-Free Cosmetics: Make conscious choices when it comes to your beauty products. Opt for cosmetics from brands that are cruelty-free, meaning they do not test their products on animals. Look for cruelty-free certifications or check online databases for reliable information. By choosing cruelty-free cosmetics, you’re taking a stand against animal testing and supporting ethical practices in the beauty industry.

Wear it kind: With so many animal-friendly options available, and more on the market every day, it’s never been easier to have a cruelty-free wardrobe.

Reject the Use of Animals for Entertainment: Take a stand against the use of animals for entertainment purposes, such as circuses, zoos, rodeos, aquariums, petting farms, animal rides, etc. that keep animals in captivity to be exploited. Refrain from attending or financially supporting such events. Instead, seek out animal-free entertainment that respects the rights of these sentient beings.

There are many other ways you can stand up for the rights of animals!


World Animal Day is a meaningful occasion to reflect on the importance of animal rights and take action to protect and care for our fellow inhabitants of the Earth. By advocating for ethical treatment, raising awareness, and supporting organizations dedicated to animal welfare, we can contribute to a more compassionate and just world for animals. Celebrating World Animal Day isn’t just a one-day event; it’s a reminder of our ongoing responsibility to respect and protect the rights of all creatures that share our planet.


Source: The Bulletin


Beat the heat – Hot weather tips for pets

Beat the heat

Image: Pixabay

Beat the heat – Hot weather tips for pets

When you are feeling the heat of the warm weather, so are your pets!

As we felt during this last week, the warmer weather is here, and protecting your pets from the heat is crucial for their well-being. While we humans may relish these sunny days, it’s crucial to remember that our furry companions may not share the same enthusiasm for the hotter days.

In this article, we explore the essential steps and precautions necessary for safeguarding our four-legged friends against the oppressive heat. From understanding the unique vulnerabilities of pets to the importance of hydration and shade, we’ll equip you with some knowledge and tools you need to ensure your pets stay cool, comfortable, and safe during the hottest months of the year.

Beat the heat

Image by The Paw Company


Provide Ample Shade: Ensure your pets have access to shade throughout the day. If they spend time outdoors, set up a shelter or use natural shade from trees or structures. Shade helps protect them from direct sunlight and keeps them cooler.

Limit Outdoor Activities: Avoid strenuous exercise and outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day. Opt for walks and playtime in the early morning or evening when temperatures are lower.

Stay Hydrated: Always have fresh, cool, clean water available for your pets. Dehydration can be a significant risk in hot weather, so encourage them to drink frequently. Although some owners think that ice water may help, it can actually slow your pet’s water consumption which is counterproductive in the heat.  Chewing on ice cubes is also not recommended, especially for dogs with dental issues. Remember to keep their water bowls out of the sun.

Cats may be reluctant drinkers because in nature, they get a lot of the necessary moisture from their food.

Beat the heat

Image by Bark & Whiskers

Provide Cooling Solutions: Offer your pets cooling options like a shallow kiddie pool or a damp towel for them to lie on. Some pets may enjoy a cooling vest or bandana designed for hot weather. Never let them swim, unsupervised and if they did dip in a chlorine pool, rinse them off with clean water after.

Consider Indoor Time: If the heat is extreme, it’s best to keep your pets indoors. Ensure your home is well-ventilated and has fans or air conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature. Regulate the temperature inside your home. Use air-cons, and fans, or give access to cooler areas like a basement or darker room with tile floors.

Travel Safely: If you’re traveling with your pets, plan ahead to ensure they stay cool during the journey. Bring water, a travel crate with proper ventilation, and always avoid leaving them in a parked vehicle unsupervised.

Stay Informed: Keep an eye on local weather forecasts and heat advisories. Extreme heat warnings may prompt you to take additional precautions or keep your pets indoors.


Avoid Hot Pavement: Asphalt and concrete can get extremely hot in the summer, which can burn your pet’s paws. Walk your dog on cooler surfaces like grass. Test the pavement/ground/road with the back of your hand before you go for a walk. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws. Use the 7 second rule. If you can’t hold your hand on the road or pavement for 7 seconds, then it can potentially burn their paws and cause injury.

Never Leave Pets in Hot Cars: Even on mildly warm days, the temperature inside a car can rise rapidly and become dangerously hot. Never leave your pet in a parked car, even for a few minutes. Report animals in cars to your local SPCA!

Watch for Signs of Heatstroke: Be vigilant for signs of heatstroke, which can include excessive panting, drooling, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, and lethargy. If you suspect heatstroke, move your pet to a cooler place, offer water, start an active cooling process, and seek immediate veterinary attention. During the active cooling process to treat heatstroke, don’t use ice to cool a pet!  Wet your dog down with room-temperature water and focus on your pet’s underside and back (avoiding the head). A wet towel is an effective cooling solution whilst travelling with your dog to the vet.

Grooming: Regular grooming can help keep your pets cool. Brushing your pet’s coat can remove excess fur and prevent overheating. However, don’t shave long-haired breeds as their fur helps regulate temperature. As a general rule dogs shouldn’t be shaved, either; however, there are exceptions, such as dogs with chronic hot spots. Some dogs actually really like a very short coat; in this case, consider a “puppy/summer cut”.

Protect Sensitive Pets: Take extra precautions with old, overweight, or snub-nosed dogs in hot weather. Boston terriers, Pekingese, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, and Bulldogs are especially vulnerable to heat stroke. Dogs with heart or lung diseases should be closely monitored. For those breeds with a thin coat or lighter skin, prone to sunburn, apply animal-safe sunscreen.

Beat the heat

Image by Bark & Whiskers

Even in the summer, we can experience some cold days! If you see an animal that appears owner-less at the time, in danger, injured, in distress, or one that is not protected from the elements, please contact your local SPCA immediately! Visit the NSPCA website to find your nearest SPCA.

 The risk of flash flooding is also a reality.

Beat the heat

Image shared on The Paw Company Facebook page

It doesn’t matter what kind of weather we have; your animals should always be protected from the elements as you are responsible for them and it is required by law. By following these guidelines, you can help protect your pets from the potentially dangerous effects of hot weather and ensure they enjoy a safe and happy summer.

As summer’s scorching embrace settles in, safeguarding your pets from the heat becomes an act of love and responsibility. Our loyal companions rely on us to ensure their well-being, and protecting them from high temperatures is a crucial part of that commitment.


Source: The Bulletin

Dive into Water Safety for Pets


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Dive into Water Safety for Pets

Keeping your pets safe in the pool and around other water sources.

Swimming is a great exercise for dogs, especially those with conditions like arthritis, and it is a great way to cool off during long summer days, but thousands of dogs and pets drown every year and that can be prevented.

Water, in its many forms, can be an enticing and refreshing element that both humans and their animal companions often find irresistible. Yet, as with any element, water can present its own set of risks and challenges, especially for our beloved pets.

Understanding the principles of keeping your pets safe in aquatic environments is essential for responsible pet ownership. In this article, we will explore the significance of water safety for pets, its potential hazards, and the measures you can take to ensure the well-being and enjoyment of your animal companions in and around water.


Image by Dr. Karen Becker


Water safety for pets is of paramount importance for several compelling reasons:

  • Drowning Prevention – Just like humans, pets can drown in bodies of water. Whether it’s a swimming pool, a pond, a lake, or the ocean, it only takes a moment for an unsupervised pet to find themselves in a life-threatening situation. Proper water safety measures can prevent tragic accidents.
  • Waterborne Hazard – Bodies of water can contain various hazards for pets, including strong currents, toxic algae, sharp debris, or even dangerous wildlife. Training and safety precautions help protect your pet from these potential dangers.
  • Health and Hygiene – While swimming is an excellent form of exercise for many dogs, it’s important to ensure that they have access to clean and safe water. Stagnant or contaminated water can lead to health issues for your pet, such as infections or exposure to harmful bacteria.
  • Comfort and Enjoyment – When pets are comfortable around water and know how to swim safely, they can enjoy aquatic activities, which can be a source of pleasure and mental stimulation. It can enhance their overall quality of life and provide them with a fun and enriching experience.
  • Emergency Preparedness – In the event of an accidental fall into the water, your pet’s ability to stay calm and swim safely can make the difference between life and death. Basic water safety training ensures they know how to handle such situations and potentially save their own life.
  • Travel and Adventures – If you love to travel with your pet, you’re likely to encounter different water-related scenarios. Whether it’s boating, camping near water, or beach vacations, teaching your pet water safety ensures they can join you on these adventures without undue risk.
  • Strengthening the Bond – Training your pet in water safety fosters a deeper connection between you and your furry friend. It’s an opportunity to work together and build trust, which can enhance your relationship.

Image shared by The Paw Company


Breeds with water-resistant coats and webbing between their toes are typically strong swimmers. Some dog breeds that tend to love the water include Newfoundlands, standard poodles, the Portuguese water dog, and Labrador retrievers.

  • Look at their physique – Brachycephalic breeds and other short-muzzled dogs, top-heavy breeds, and those with short legs, including bulldogs, pugs, Dachshunds, and boxers, generally have difficulty staying afloat.
  • Size – Small breeds may also need assistance in the water, as they get easily chilled and some are frightened of the water. 
  • Age – Puppies and elderly dogs may also need extra help in the water.


Some dogs are naturally good swimmers, while others need extra help to stay afloat.  Your dog may take to the water instantly, or it could take several days of practice for your dog to swim. Be patient!

If your dog is a puppy, exposing them to water between the ages of 6 to 16 weeks can help them to get used to it and develop positive associations with being in the water.

Teaching your dog to swim is a multi-step process that should start slowly and gradually build up to spending more time in the water, going at a pace that your dog feels safe. 

  • Plan to accompany your dog in the water when teaching them to swim. 
  • With all pets start in a few inches of water just getting their feet wet, then slowly move to deeper water. Never force an animal into water and always look out for signs of anxiety or stress.
  • When your dog starts swimming, support them under their midsection until they are confident and using all four limbs to swim.

Help your dog become a lifelong water lover by introducing them to water at a pace they’re comfortable with, safely building confidence and trust.  


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Dr. Judy Morgan gives the following advice when choosing a spot to swim:

  • Swimming pools are best as they can be monitored, but some dogs also enjoy a dip in the sea or a stream.
  • Avoid fast-flowing water, flooded rivers, reservoirs and canals.
  • Watch out for any obstructions like fallen trees or branches that your dog could get caught on.
  • Larger bodies of water may have designated swimming spots and warning signs, so pay attention to these.
  • Ensure that you can guide them out of the water at a spot you can reach on foot to avoid stranding your pet.

Chlorinated water does carry certain risks, as do the disinfection byproducts that form when organic materials mix with chlorinated water. As a general rule, if you can make your outdoor pool relatively non-toxic, the benefits of allowing your pet to exercise in the water far outweigh the risks. An alternative to chlorine is to perform frequent maintenance shock treatments to kill algae.

AERCMN shares more about lake and beach dangers:

  1. Parasites and bacteria 
  2. Swimming safety 
  3. Water intoxication  
  4. Salt water 
  5. Seaweed 
  6. Sand impaction 
  7. Hot surfaces 
  8. Picnic foods & foreign bodies 
  9. Fishing hooks 
  10. Sun protection 
  11. Heat and dehydration 


  • Never assume all pets or all dogs can swim!
  • Supervision is crucial, so keep an eye on your dog and call them back if they swim too far out.
  • Don’t let your dog drink the salt water of the ocean or stagnant water in nature. Bring plenty of fresh, cool water for your dog to drink during swimming sessions. Keep a close eye to be sure they’re not consuming too much of the pool, ocean, or lake water. Water intoxication is a danger that may be associated with swimming when dogs are swallowing large amounts of water. Symptoms include loss of coordination, lethargy, bloating, vomiting, glazed eyes, excessive salivation, difficulty breathing, seizures, coma, and death. If you notice your dog is gulping water, insist on taking a break from swimming and water play.
  • Some dogs may never be confident swimmers and will always need a doggy life jacket on when around the water.
  • While your dog is learning to swim, you can attach a leash or long line to the life jacket (or to a harness) so you can pull your dog in if he gets distracted or cannot reach the shore on his own.
  • Attach an alarm or emergency light to them in case they fall into a dangerous area of the water on hikes.
  • Swimming is hard work, so be aware that your dog may tire quickly. Avoid having him swim out too far.
  • If you have a backyard pool, install a ramp that your dog can use for an exit, and teach your pet to use it. Also, be sure to keep the pool area fenced and covered so your dog cannot fall in accidentally or jump in without supervision.
  • Use animal-safe sunscreen for breeds who are prone to sunburn.
  • When your dog is done swimming, give them a rinse with fresh water to remove chlorine, salt, bacteria, and other contaminants from their fur.
  • Make sure you clean and dry their ears after a swim and remove wet collars to prevent hot spots.
  • Look out for the signs of heat stroke and provide cool shade areas.
  • Learn pet CPR for an emergency and save the emergency services number for the area you plan to visit.
  • Check with your veterinarian before swimming if your pet has special needs or certain health risks.

If you intend to take your dog on the boat with you, I recommend reviewing AERCMN’s 10 safety tips for boating with dogs.  If you have a pool, read more about the dangers it presents and how to prevent them.


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In conclusion, water safety for pets is not just a matter of precaution; it’s an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. The allure of water, combined with the curious nature of our animal companions, can lead to situations that demand our vigilance and care. By understanding the potential hazards and implementing the right safety measures, we can create an environment in which our pets can enjoy the water safely.

From the training and preparation needed for water-related activities to the importance of proper supervision and the value of life-saving equipment, we’ve explored some of the key elements of ensuring your pets are protected in and around water. Whether it’s a poolside playdate, a beach excursion, or a lakeside adventure, these guidelines are indispensable.

As you venture into the world of water safety for your pets, remember that preparation and vigilance are the keys to protecting their lives, well-being, and health. It ensures they can enjoy water-related activities safely and leads to a more fulfilling and enjoyable life for both you and your cherished animal companion.


Source: The Bulletin

Pet Emergency Preparedness



Pet Emergency Preparedness

Ensuring the safety and well-being of our furry family in case of an emergency!

A pet emergency plan is crucial for safeguarding your pets in unforeseen events and ensuring their safety, well-being, and survival. It facilitates a quick and efficient response to emergencies, guiding you in gathering essentials, securing pets, and evacuating. Including proper identification in the plan, like collars with tags and microchips, increases the chances of reuniting with your pets if separated. Addressing health needs, evacuation preparedness, and compliance with regulations, the plan offers peace of mind and reduces stress during high-pressure situations. Communication and coordination strategies with family, neighbours, and responders are integral, as is the plan’s adaptability to various emergency scenarios.

A pet emergency plan is a vital tool for effective and swift responses to crises, prioritizing the safety and well-being of your beloved pets. Your pets are important members of your family, so they need to be included in your family’s emergency plan. To prepare for the unexpected follow these tips with your pets in mind:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Build an emergency kit
  3. Stay informed



Having a comprehensive emergency plan for both yourself and your pets is crucial to minimize difficulties and stress during unforeseen situations, including illness or accidents.

A pet emergency plan is a comprehensive strategy designed to ensure the safety and well-being of your pets in the event of various emergencies or disasters. It involves careful consideration and preparation for situations such as natural disasters, medical emergencies, evacuations, or any unexpected events that may pose a threat to your pets. A well-thought-out pet emergency plan typically includes the following components:

  • Evacuation Plan: If evacuation becomes necessary, it’s vital to plan for your pets as well to prevent them from getting lost, injured, or worse if left behind. Know in advance where you can take your pets if you need to evacuate your home. Identify pet-friendly shelters, hotels, or the homes of friends and family members willing to accommodate your pets. You have to develop an evacuation strategy in advance. Coordinate with neighbours, friends, or relatives to ensure someone can care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
  • Identification: Ensure your pets have proper identification, including collars with up-to-date tags and registered microchips. Register the microchip on multiple databases. Include your contact information and any essential medical details as well as an emergency contact outside your immediate area.
  • Transportation: Have appropriate carriers or crates for each pet, ensuring they are comfortable and secure during transport. Practice getting your pets used to being in carriers beforehand.
  • Contact List: Maintain a list of emergency contacts, including your veterinarian, local animal shelters, and pet-friendly hotels or shelters. Share this information with family members, neighbors, and friends who may be involved in your pet’s care during an emergency.
  • Medical Information: Keep records of your pets’ medical history, vaccinations, and any special needs they may have. This information can be crucial in case your pets require veterinary care during an emergency.
  • Communication Plan: Establish a communication plan with family members or neighbors to ensure everyone knows how to coordinate and share information about the well-being and whereabouts of your pets.
  • Training: Train your pets to respond to basic commands, making it easier to manage them in stressful situations. This can be particularly important during evacuations or when interacting with emergency responders.
  • Secure Your Home: Take steps to pet-proof your home and secure it against potential hazards. This includes having a plan for containing pets in a safe area if necessary.

Remember to review and update your pet emergency plan regularly, especially if there are changes in your living situation, family composition, or the health of your pets. Being well-prepared ensures that you can act quickly and effectively to protect your pets in any emergency.

For further guidance, reach out to local authorities, veterinarians, animal shelters, or animal control offices to ensure the best care for your pets during emergencies.



Just as you do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think first about the basics for survival, such as food and water. Have two kits, one larger kit if you are sheltering in place and one lightweight version for if you need to evacuate. Review your kits regularly to ensure that their contents, especially foods and medicines, are fresh.

Here are some items you may want to include in an emergency kit for your pet:

  • Food. Keep several days’ supply of food in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • Water. Store a water bowl and several days’ supply of water.
  • Medicine. Well labelled. Keep an extra supply of the medicine your pet takes regularly in a waterproof container.
  • Keep all their medical records in one place with this kit.
  • First aid kit. Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs.
  • Collar with ID tag and a harness or leash. Include a backup leash, collar, and ID tag. Have copies of your pet’s registration information and other relevant documents in a waterproof container and available electronically.
  • Traveling bag, crate, or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet. Have a plan on who grabs what in an emergency.
  • Grooming items. Pet shampoo, conditioner, and other items, in case your pet needs some cleaning up. Dry shampoos are great for this.
  • Sanitation needs. Include pet litter and a litter box (if appropriate), newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs.
  • A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. You can also add a detailed description of your pet.
  • Important numbers. Your veterinarian’s number. If your family does not live in your town, have numbers for someone who can immediately go to your home and check on them or take them. You can even provide them with a letter of authorization and or a key to your home.
  • Familiar items. Put their favourite toys, treats, or bedding in your kit. Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet. You can also include items that smell like you.


Stay informed about potential hazards in your area, including weather-related risks or other events that might impact your pets. Keep abreast of local emergency plans and regulations regarding pets.

  • Emergency card. You can buy or make such cards to keep in your wallet or your car. Even stickers. If you are in an accident or unconscious then this person can be contacted. Never list your address, but that you have animals at home to be taken care of and the contact person.
  • In case of a fire at home. Have a small notice board near entrances about people and pets in this home. Not where thieves can see it from outside, but if firemen enter this could help.
  • Provide exits for your pets like doggy doors. We prefer at least two.
  • Teach your pets to open certain doors.
  • Our pet sitter and one other person are listed with contact numbers on our vet accounts as having the authority to make decisions on our behalf. Inform your vet that this person can be contacted.
  • We opened a vet account at more than one veterinary practice in town, so if one is not available, you (or the pet sitter) do not need to do all the paperwork then.
  • Let your pet sitter have the family’s numbers and vice versa.
  • Leave an extra set of keys with a friend or neighbours.
  • NEVER LEAVE your pets alone when you are away for a holiday. Have someone check in at least once every 8-12 hours.
  • Save money in advance for pet emergencies.
  • Contact SDS services and training academy for your pet first aid course!

by The Paw Company


Animal welfare organizations have seen first-hand the confusion as these animals arrive in shelters and have to try to cope in kennels. Often being split up or waiting long periods before being adopted or eventually just humanely killed because there are just not enough homes with this massive overpopulation crisis.

Including pets in your will is important to ensure their ongoing care and well-being after your passing. Pets are considered property in legal terms, and without specific provisions, there may be uncertainty about their fate.

  • Include your pets in your will and clearly state your wishes. Name one or two people you trust to make these decisions if necessary. Inform those that you name in your will to take care of your pets. Explicitly stating care instructions, including daily routines and veterinary preferences, guarantees their continued well-being. This also helps prevent disputes among family or friends and minimizes legal conflicts, providing a recognized framework for your pets’ future care. Planning for contingencies, such as naming alternate caregivers, accommodates life’s unpredictability.
  • Allocating financial resources in your will eases the burden on caregivers, covering veterinary, grooming, and daily expenses.
  • Consultation with legal professionals for proper documentation and communication with designated caregivers to ensure their willingness to take on the responsibility may be required. Talk to a company that specializes in estate planning for pets!

Doing this provides peace of mind and prevents potential surrender to shelters by providing a clear plan for your pets’ future homes. Including pets in your will expresses your love and responsibility as a pet owner.

In conclusion, having an emergency plan for your pets and including them in your will is a responsible and compassionate approach to pet ownership. These measures provide a comprehensive strategy for ensuring the safety and well-being of your beloved animals in times of crisis and beyond and you will not burden an already overwhelmed animal welfare system. By taking these steps, you not only protect your pets from potential harm but also demonstrate your enduring commitment to their happiness, health, and security, even when you’re no longer able to be their primary caretaker.


Source: The Bulletin