Curb impulse buying of small pets with checklist

IT IS encouraging to see some positive results following the recent implementation of pre-screening rules to curb impulse buying of pets ("Impulse buys of pets down with new law"; June 8).

The pre-screening rules should be targeted at potential buyers of small pets, such as hamsters, as these animals are relatively affordable and common in many pet shops.

Hamsters are adorable and children find them hard to resist. Many parents may give in to their children's pleas for a hamster as these animals are relatively easy to keep, compared with, say, a dog or a cat.

However, when the novelty wears off, the hamsters are given away or abandoned. In order to effectively curb such impulse buying, especially of small pets like hamsters, pet shops have a role to play by introducing a checklist to educate buyers and evaluate their suitability as pet owners.

The checklist can include questions to show if the potential buyer has some basic knowledge of the behaviour of hamsters, for instance.

Potential owners should be made fully aware that buying a hamster is not a trivial matter, and that they should be committed and be responsible for the pet for its entire life.

Lim Lih Mei (Ms)