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Just 'Coz It's The Year Of The Rat Doesn't Mean You Need To Buy Hamsters And Chinchillas

Many owners adopted dogs then left them on the streets during the Year of the Dog.

Cover image via Hive Miner

It seems to have become an annual trend.

People buy pets to follow the zodiac sign but end up neglecting them later on down the road.

This year's 'lucky animal' is the rat.

As a result, many Malaysian pet stores have seen a boost in hamster, guinea pig, and chinchilla sales. The Star reported that several stores have since sold an average of 200 hamsters a month!

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Hive Miner

And it is easy to see why this happens - hamsters and guinea pigs are cute, low maintenance, and relatively inexpensive creatures, while chinchillas are listed as endangered creatures.

However, recent reports have revealed that these furry friends may be neglected or given away shortly after the trend dies down

According to The Star, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) chairman Christine Chin said the abandonment of pets is a constant problem in Malaysia.

A worryingly high average of 60 dogs and 90 cats are sent to the shelter every month.

In 2018, many pet owners adopted or bought dogs as pets because it was the Year of the Dog.

But many of them were left on the streets or given away once the hype died.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via SPCA Selangor

SPCA Johor Bahru's vice-president Dr Edwin Singam urged the public to be sure that they are ready to take on the responsibility of caring for an animal before simply buying one.

"You should get it only because you really want to care for it," Singam advised.

Canine welfare project Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB) director Irene Low also noted that rodents should not be abandoned, as they are bred in captivity and are unable to fend for themselves if released.

In fact, you could be fined up to RM100,000 or jailed three years for abandoning your pets

Chin noted that the act of abandonment is considered a serious offence under Section 29 of the Animal Welfare Act 2015.
 
Those found guilty could be fined between RM25,000 and RM100,000 or jailed three years, she added.

If you're ready to care for a pet, adopting is always a better option than buying:

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