Abandoned dogs in the kennel, homeless dogs behind bars in an animal shelter.Sad looking dog behind the fence looking out through the wire of his cage

Pet Problem

Pets are not just some passing trend

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Pets are not just some passing trend

Certain animals can come into fashion because of a hit film or even the Chinese zodiac sign of the year but what happens when they’re not as ‘fashionable’ anymore?

When ‘Finding Nemo’, the film featuring a clown fish and blue tang was released, sales of these fishes soared. In the case of the blue tang, ‘Dory’ in the film, demand for this fish soared and hatcheries couldn’t keep up, some resorted to poaching them from the wild. This caused the blue tang’s population to decline in several areas of its natural habitat. Same goes for the clown fish where children thought flushing the clown fish down the toilet would ‘set them free’ such as in the film.

Other than fish, animals such as the turtle came into fashion in the 80s and 90s due to the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sales of turtles soared but when the children realised that turtles aren’t as exciting as the ones on television, they’re promptly abandoned in rivers and lakes or flushed down toilets. According to the American Tortoise Rescue, an estimated 90 percent of these turtles won’t survive.

As shown in the two examples above, a film or series on television could influence plenty of families to adopt animals that may not be suitable for their lifestyle. This would then result in the animal either being neglected or abandoned. Other than animal abuse, a sudden increase

in population of a certain animal into an environment could disrupt the ecosystem.

Adopting a zodiac animal

In addition to films and shows on television, the zodiac animal of the year could also influence pet trends.

During the zodiac year of the snake (2013), many people kept snakes because they thought it would bring them luck. Unfortunately for them, they were not experienced in handling snakes and soon couldn’t keep up with the snakes’ appetite and size! This resulted in the snakes being dumped in forests or swamps where it was assumed that they would be able to fend for themselves. Other than death due to not being able to cope with being in the wild, an influx of snakes could cause devastation to populations of birds, frogs and other species in the ecosystem.

2018 is the year of the dog and this could lead to an unhealthy rise in dog ownership which could lead to 

unscrupulous breeders and puppy mills. This was the case when the film ‘101 Dalmatians’ was re-released in the late 80s where amateur breeders and puppy mills kept breeding Dalmatians to make a quick buck.

For some who may adopt a dog on a whim from the shelter, it is not any better. Not doing your research or preparing your home and family for a new addition could result in the dog needing to be returned to the shelter.

All in all, pet ownership isn’t easy. A pet is an animal with a prolonged life span that may not be as long as a human’s but it will be around for at least 20 or so years. Having a pet is not a right but a privilege.

Are you really ready for a pet?

If you’re in doubt about whether you’re really ready for a pet, here’s a handy checklist to help you with your decision.

  • Can you afford to feed, house, and groom your pet?
  • Can you list ALL of its special needs? (UV lamp, diet of insects, humidity regulator)
  • Do you have time to take care of it?
  • Will your other pets accept this new addition?
  • Is your family alright with this new pet?
  • Does anyone have any allergies that might be related to this pet?
  • Who will take care of your pet when you go on vacation?
  • If you have children, can this pet potentially harm them?
  • Is your place of residence tolerant of pets?
  • Do you have space for this pet?

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