OPINION: It’s time to make animal desexing compulsory
PUPPIES are adorable and watching the "miracle of dog-birth" is a wonderful, bonding family experience.
But it is also wrong.
Saying this is difficult for me because some of my close friends have made the decision to allow their dog to have puppies.
I've stood silently at the side, not wanting to offend their feelings.
And I'm not going to judge them as I know they are doing what they believe is right for the family.
But when you look at the number of dogs desperately looking for homes on the RSPCA or 4 Paws website, can you just ignore a problem?
My children desperately wanted our dogs to have puppies too.
So did I.
And when it was time to take my mum's cat to be desexed I was sorely tempted not too.
Just one litter, just one remarkable life-changing experience. And then we could have the animal desexed.
The vet persuaded me I was doing the right thing with her accounts of how many kittens there are in shelters.
And a glance at Gumtree today has confirmed my thoughts.
There are 97 different adverts for dogs for sale on the Sunshine Coast.
Some of these are litters so the number being sold and needing a home is likely to be in the hundreds.
There are also 10 adverts for dogs looking for a home on the Sunshine Coast from 4 Paws and a further 18 at the RSPCA in Noosa.
The number of cats is much higher.
I know registration fees are steeper if you haven't desexed your pet which intends to curb the problem.
It is a good idea.
But until demand outstrips supply, the rules need to be harsher to encourage most dog and cat owners to do the right thing.
There needs to be a requirement to ensure all animals are desexed.
Going through a breeding process needs to be restricted to a few who genuinely have the ability and desire to do this.
This would take away some of the casualness out of the "aww, let's have a go" puppy-making process.
It would also teach children pets are not a commodity for our pleasure and learning experience. They are a responsibility.
I wouldn't think this would be too hard if this was state law as vets could remind owners of requirements when bringing their animal in for needles.
Local laws officers which already police for dog and pool fencing would be able to check if the pet's license clearly showed it was desexed.
After all, if we can do it for pool fencing, we can do it for our animals.
Owners shouldn't be allowed to make money from their pets' offspring unless they are registered breeders.
There is a petition trending on Change.Org at the moment.
It is calling on Gumtree to stop facilitating animal abuse and restrict pet advertising to animal shelters only.
I'm going to sign it and I hope you will too.
Animal welfare has to be higher than our own desires. This is a lesson we need to learn young.