What you need to know

At SPCA Hastings & Districts we always try to find the best match between our homeless pets and their new owners.

Our adoption process is individual to each and every applicant so please allow plenty of time when you come in to meet the animals available for adoption. We will ask you lots of questions and can offer lots of advice about helping your new pet settle into your home and family.

We want you to think through the decision to adopt a pet very carefully and be fully aware of the commitment, costs, challenges and legal obligations that come with pet ownership. You need to be able to afford both the day-to-day care of your new pet and also any unexpected vet bills should your pet get sick or injured. Please read our checklist and think about your answers honestly.

You will need to consider what future plans you may have and make sure that you can include your pet in these plans. Adopting a pet means you are making a lifelong commitment to love and care for it and that it becomes an integral part of your family.

Upon adoption, dogs and cats will be de-sexed, vaccinated, microchipped and registered on the Companion Animal Database, worm and flea treated, and fully vet health checked. Dogs will be registered with the Council for the current year which ends in June. Current adoption fees are: Kittens $145; Cats over 12 months $95; Adult Dogs and Puppies $270. Rabbits are de-sexed, vaccinated and microchipped, and their adoption fee is $75.

Please note: Upon adoption, depending on the age of the animal and its length of stay with us, the full course of vaccinations may or may not have been administered. Any vaccinations required to complete the course which occur after adoption are at the adopter’s expense.

Pre-Adoption Checklist
Adopting an SPCA animal is a rewarding experience. It is also a commitment for the animal’s lifetime, so making the right match is critical. Before you adopt, you need to answer the following important questions. We’ll be happy to assist and talk you through this.

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Have I thought this through?
You must consider why you want to adopt a pet and understand the changes it will make to your life. Pets are companions; they live with us and depend on us for all of their needs. This is a great responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. You must be willing to make this commitment.

Is the pet for the children?
You should not adopt a pet under the assumption that it will help children learn responsibility by having something to look after. Children are enthusiastic in the beginning but can tire quickly of the routine of pet care, especially the messy tasks.

Getting any pet must be a family decision and a family responsibility. Consider the life span of the animal you choose as well. Are you willing to be responsible for the pet once your children leave home?

Can I adapt my lifestyle around my pet?
All pets change your lifestyle. Dogs are social animals and need the company of humans. In the wild they live in packs and the family is the dogs pack. That is why it is important to your dog to be with you, not shut outdoors or locked in another room. Bad habits can result from loneliness and boredom.

Leaving a dog exclusively outdoors will lead to behaviour issues and undermine the psychological well being of your dog. Isolation is unreasonable. To deprive a dog of human companionship and affection could be described as a form of cruelty.

You must be sure that you can cope with the changes in your lifestyle, and be able to spend lots of time with the dog in terms of exercise and behaviour training. All dog owners should endeavour to enrol their animal in puppy or dog school, where they will learn how to behave with other dogs.

Cats need a stimulating internal and external environment and need to be free to roam within their boundaries.

Small pets need to be kept in a suitable enclosure, which is of a suitable size, dry and warm. An outdoor enclosure can be built for them so that they have some exposure to the outdoors. Always purchase the largest possible enclosure for your small animals, and remember that even small pets need daily companionship, grooming and attention.

Is the time right?
Pets need stability and routine to feel secure. Consider your future plans and evaluate if a pet will fit in with those plans. Cats have an especially difficult time adjusting to new environments and often run away from new surroundings unless care is taken to keep them secure until they adjust to their new environment. Getting a pet should never be a spur of the moment decision. Their life is dependent on you.

A dog can be a 15 year commitment. A cat can be a 10 to 15 year commitment.

Can I provide a stable and safe environment for my pet?
All members of the household must be in agreement of the pet you choose, as your pet will be a member of their family too. Consider your existing pets and how they will adapt to a new animal.

If you’re renting make sure you have permission to own a pet from your landlord. Remember that it may be difficult to find another rental property in the future which will allow pets if you happen to move – it will be your responsibility to find a home for you and your pets.

Do you have enough space for the pet you are considering? Most animals don’t need a lot of room but some will require more than others. For dogs a suitably sized outdoor exercise and play area is important. If you are in a house you need to have a fenced yard for your dog.

Animals who come into the care of the SPCA may have unhappy backgrounds, sometimes we don’t know how they came to find themselves lost or stray, so their new owner must be committed to making them as comfortable and happy as they can. This is the least they deserve.

Am I dedicated enough?
Spaying and neutering are very important especially for cats, dogs and rabbits. Not only will it control the pet overpopulation problem it helps prevent illness and behaviour problems. At the SPCA we de-sex cats and dogs before adopting,

Cleaning up after your pet is necessary whether it be scooping poop in the park or cleaning a litter box, cage or aquarium. It is important for the health of you and the animals, and the respect of your neighbours.

Grooming is also a part of having most pets. Clipping nails of dogs, cats and rabbits is a necessary part of the regular maintenance. Brushing animals with long hair is necessary to prevent tangles. This includes cats, dogs and guinea pigs. Dental care is also essential. Brushing your dog’s teeth will prevent dental problems and improve his/her breath.

Do I have enough time?
Different animals will require different amounts of your time. The amount of physical activities you do with your pet, the amount of time you are home, what to do when you go away are all factors to consider when choosing a pet. You need to provide active play and walks for your dog or cat every day, and the amount of exercise will depend on the size and age of the animal.

Can I really afford a pet?
The cost of pet ownership is not just one off but will continue throughout their life.

Some dog and cat costs include:
Initial adoption costs (all cats and dogs from the SPCA are de-sexed and microchipped).
Ongoing provision of quality food and treats.
Sundry items such as worm pills and flea treatments.
Leashes, toys, collars, bedding, kennel, crates.
All pets require an annual visit to the veterinarian and will incur vaccination costs.
Potential vet visits due to illness or accidents and preventative care.
Annual dog registration costs which is a legal requirement.
Boarding fees may need to be paid if you need to go away and cannot take your pet with you.
Training classes for puppies and dogs.
Don’t forget that puppies and even adult dogs may inadvertently destroy items such as shoes, TV remote controls, books, couches etc if they are bored.