SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Responsible Animal Ownership

SPCA advocates that animals must only be kept as companions when a person has the knowledge, ability, and means to meet their physical, health, and behavioural needs.

SPCA advocates for the principles of “responsible animal ownership” which includes:

  1. Ensuring that their animal(s) are microchipped and, where practical, equipped with a collar and tag for identification purposes. They also ensure their animal(s) is desexed before it is able to start reproducing (before reaching puberty).
  2. Finding an appropriate companion animal based on careful deliberation and reflection on what qualities will suit the animal to the owner’s home and lifestyle.
  3. Providing appropriate health care for their animal in accordance with veterinary advice and support for the animal’s lifetime. Companion animals require both preventive and therapeutic health care (e.g. vaccinations, parasite control, and treatment and monitoring of health problems).
  4. Companion animal owners should also be able to recognise the decline in an animal’s quality of life, and decisions should be made in consultation with a veterinarian regarding appropriate end-of-life care (e.g. palliative care, hospice, euthanasia).
  5. Providing food, water, and shelter as appropriate for the individual animal.
  6. Providing adequate socialisation, training, exercise, mental stimulation, and social companionship appropriate to the individual animal.
  7. Investing time and money for food, containment, and provision of care when the owner is away or when it is no longer possible for the owner or carer to look after the animal.
  8. Companion animal owners should be prepared to ensure their animal’s well-being in the case of an emergency or disaster, including assembling an animal-specific evacuation kit.
  9. Preventing him/her from negatively impacting other people, animals, and the environment. Companion animal owners should ensure that the animal does not stray and obey all relevant laws, including licensing, leash requirements, and noise control.

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