Keeping Australia Pet Friendly with The Village Vets
July 05, 2016
The stars of the LifeStyle Channel's hit show The Village Vets Anthony Bennett and James Carroll chat about why they support Dr Chris Brown and the Keep Australia Pet Friendly campaign.
Browsing the internet and seeing the cult following that our furry friends are garnering on social media and the almost guaranteed success of any you-tube video involving a cute cat, it’s hard to believe that dog and cat ownership in Australia is declining, but surprisingly that is the case.
A quick snap poll around our vet clinic garnered absolute surprise at this fact, but research is showing that cat numbers fell by 200,000 or approximately 15% and dog numbers by 100,000 or approximately 2.5%.
This trend is alarming given how important pets have been shown in improving people’s physical and mental health and well being. Through their ability to keep us active (dogs aren’t too fussed that it’s raining and cold – they want that walk anyway!) and interacting (anyone who has been single for an extended period of time has probably had a dog thrust upon them by a well meaning relative as a great way of meeting people), pets have been proven to be great allies in day to day life – particularly some of the more challenging phases we may encounter.
After calming down from their initial shock everyone asked the obvious question – why? Various reasons have been espoused to explain what may be occurring. It’s worth noting that the population of pets is also ageing, much as our human population is, so this is likely that we are seeing the start of a trend with older dogs and cats not being replaced with puppies and kittens.
Firstly, not all of the places that we live are pet friendly. With increasing housing density more and more of us are living in apartments. This means that not all of us are able to keep a pet, in whatever form that may take. Importantly, government reform has started to take place, with NSW recently changing the default position to allowing pets in strata in the standard strata by-laws. Apartment living is never easy but with careful management and a little effort it is very easy to have pets in strata and keep all the inhabitants happy.
Responsible pet ownership is a really important point. In the dozen years that we have been practicing as vets, adherence to responsible pet ownership laws has dramatically improved, and the landscape has changed significantly with far less issues pervading in general. What this means in practice is that we take ownership and what that entails seriously, however it’s important that there isn’t too much red tape stopping people enjoying the benefits of pet ownership.
As a society, we believe that it is really important that we embrace pet ownership as something that is entrenched in what we do. For many people pets form an important part of their family and an enormous part of their lifestyle. And who wouldn’t want to embrace something that will improve your self esteem, health and activity levels. The more we can set up pet friendly spaces, cafe’s, off leash areas and ways to celebrate pet ownership, the more of these benefits will flow on to society.
And at the end of the day, good or bad, fun filled or lousy, stressful or relaxed, what could be better to come home to than the cat curled up on the couch waiting for your arrival or the wagging tail of your four- legged friend. The companionship of any form of pet ownership is invaluable – and these social media juggernauts aren’t going to feed themselves!
You can follow the campaign on social media here: https://www.facebook.com/keepauspetfriendly/ and don't forget to share your stories and photos with us using #KeepAusPetFriendly