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Barb's Wire with Cheltenham councillor Barbara Driver

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 04, 2012

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WHILE Santa is thinking about gifts, may I put in a plea that he or any helpers think twice before give an animal as a present?

It might seem to be a good idea at the time, but please remember those animals grow, need to eat and require love and attention.

The Cheltenham Animal Shelter does what it can to rehouse unwanted animals but it is not only cats and dogs these days, but exotic pets which owners no longer want.

The most unwanted exotic seems to be terrapins. They are very cute and appealing creatures which can be purchased easily from many pet shops when they are not much bigger than a two pence piece.

People often ignore that advice about the size they can get to and they outgrow their tanks – then the animal shelter gets them. Mind you, that is better than dumped in a box by a rubbish bin.

This is what Deborah and the caring people at the shelter tell me. The reasons why an animal is no longer wanted are varied, such as ''the children have lost interest'' or "it doesn't like being handled''.

Small animals such as rabbits are often given as a gift for children but once the novelty wears off, the poor creature is left in a small hutch with no company and very little human contact – is there any wonder as to why it has become aggressive?

Most pet shops do give advice but when animals are advertised for sale, I would like to see a reminder on what it takes to care for a pet.

This year so far 853 animals have ended up at the shelter, some rescued by the police. If someone still wants a pet after Christmas why not adopt one in need of a little TLC from the Cheltenham Animal Shelter.

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  • TimMessanger  |  December 05 2012, 1:06AM

    @originalbjm and with some Helmans it could last a week ;)

  • Bonkim2003  |  December 04 2012, 6:43PM

    Is this councillor paid to write these regular gems or does she pay TIG for the privilege?

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  • originalbjm  |  December 04 2012, 5:14PM

    Remember, A Dog Is Not Just For Christmas Day. If you're careful there will be some left for cold in sandwiches on Boxing Day

  • Takeaway22  |  December 04 2012, 5:03PM

    This woman is priceless!

    |   3
  • Coingrass  |  December 04 2012, 4:10PM

    I had a rabbit for Christmas last year - made a nice change from turkey.

    |   1
  • Dr_Hfrrrrr  |  December 04 2012, 2:59PM

    Well, I'm shocked. Babs may actually have a point here. I know! Who'd have thought it? Dear old Babs is actually making a semi-reasonable point. Ok, admittedly she is about 20 years behind the times with the terrapin thing, but apart from that her column isn't the usual delusional ramblings, desperate attempts to shoehorn in references to trips to New York and 'let them eat cake' pronouncements. Well done Babs.

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  • TimMessanger  |  December 04 2012, 2:40PM

    Santa doesn't exist, Barb's delusional at the best and as for the helpers!

    |   4
  • Douglasknows  |  December 04 2012, 11:59AM

    In this day and age should we be referring to santa as a 'he'.............. ;o)

    |   1
  • cdotd  |  December 04 2012, 11:38AM

    "The most unwanted exotic seems to be terrapins" This is true.....20 years ago when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were at the peak of their popularity. Finger. On. The. Pulse

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  • Takeaway22  |  December 04 2012, 10:31AM

    a_calm_voice - Can you verify what you are implying? Are you saying that anyone keeping pets of any kind is wrong?