Are you or do you plan to be A Pet Owner?
When getting a pet, it is important to carefully consider the reality of caring for your pet now and in future years. If in doubt do not proceed as this will help reduce the number of pets which escape or are released into our native environment by owners no longer able to cope.
- Is it legal? Some animals are illegal to own on the island of Ireland. In general, if an animal is illegal it has been made illegal as a result of the potential threats it poses to human health or the environment.
- Does it require a license? Some animals require a licence to keep legally in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Always check with your retailer on the license requirements before you purchase an animal.
- What size will it grow to? Do you have enough space to accommodate your pet once it reaches its potential full size?
- What age will it live to? How long will you have to commit to this pet and how does this fit with your long term life plans?
- Can you adopt practices to prevent your pet, any diseases/parasites or its food/habitat requirements from becoming invasive? When considering getting a new pet, you should also consider the potential for your pet, its diseases/parasites to become invasive. You should also consider if its food or habitat requirements could lead to the introduction of a new invasive species.
- How much time will it take to care for? Do you have the time to devote to your pet to ensure that it has the best possible quality of life? Some pets will be more active than others and will require much more of your time for social and exercise time. Specialist dietary and husbandry requirements may take a considerable amount of time.
- How social is the animal? Do you want a pet that is happy to be handled or one that is contented without regular handling? Is the animal best kept in groups or alone? Is the animal compatible with other pets and/or children?
- How much will it cost to look after? Does the animal require specialist food/housing/veterinary care that will be expensive? Even if no specialist care is required the costs of owning pets are often far greater than the cost of acquiring the pet in the first place. Also consider if your local veterinary surgery is equipped to deal with your chosen pet.
- Will it reproduce in captivity? If your chosen pet is to be kept in groups will they reproduce readily? Will they produce large numbers of young? Do you have a responsible means of re-homing ALL offspring?
- Health concerns? Some animals may carry diseases or pathogens which may be transmitted to humans, other pets, agricultural animals and native species. It is important to consider and research this issue before deciding upon an exotic pet.
Caring for your pet
Even if you have thoroughly researched your chosen pet there may be issues which you had not previously considered. Liaise with relevant bodies on how to best continue care for your pet and avoid situations where there is a risk of your pet being introduced to our native environment.
If your circumstances change and you find you are unable to continue caring for your pet ensure that you re-home you pet humanely and responsibly.
Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals