Spare a thought for unwanted pets and the people who care for them.
I write to applaud the efforts of Joanne Bell for the collections she made for the dogs' home and cats' protection before Christmas.
It has restored my faith in human nature to find there are people like her who devote time to protect the interests of God's creatures. A mention must also be made of the tireless dedicated work by people like Diane Lewis, of the North Devon Animal Ambulance, who devote their lives to caring for creatures lost or suffering.
It is sad, however, to discover how cruel and selfish some people are towards animals.
I was horrified to hear about the cat abandoned in a box along with her kittens recently. I hope the New Year will not see another spate of abandoned unwanted pets bought or acquired in the heat of the moment to satisfy the transient whim of a child at Christmas.
I implore people to get their dogs and cats neutered so that the populations are kept under control. There are bodies like the Cats' Protection League who will neuter cats without cost and anyone in financial difficulties should approach them for help if needed.
A pet is not just for Christmas. It should be for life, and with this comes commitment; a commitment which seems to disappear for some people after the Christmas festivities. Please think of all the costs and problems involved when acquiring pets for children.
I personally hate pet shops with their caged animals. We have all seen cuddly young rabbits cutely displayed to attract parents afraid to say 'no' to the nagging requests of their offspring.
I wonder how many of these parents realise how quickly these rabbits grow and the amount of time and effort that is required to correctly house them. It is no life for a rabbit to be kept in a prison of a cage, usually without company and very limited, if any, freedom.
I once was a victim of a nagging child and I bitterly lived to regret succumbing to his whim. A child's interest is often fleeting and promises to 'clean out the cage' quickly fade; leaving busy 'mum' to do another job she could well do without. I remember these chores only too well and feeling sorry for the poor rabbit I gave it the run of my house, only to find it voraciously attacked any piece of furniture it could get its teeth into; teeth which can also bite a child into hating the creature.
Before adding to the problem of unwanted pets please remember to spare a thought for all these people who give up this festive season to deal with all those animals some people so thoughtlessly discard.