The community are urged by Hawkesbury City Council to carefully consider whether they are ready for the long-term commitment of caring for an animal before buying a pet this Christmas.
After an extremely busy year, Hawkesbury Companion Animal Shelter already has a large number of lost and surrendered animals it is working hard to care for and rehome.
Hawkesbury Mayor, Councillor Sarah McMahon, said pet ownership is a rewarding experience, but is also a lifelong commitment.
"That cute kitten and puppy in December quickly grows up and has needs just like any of your family members," she said.
"Owning a pet is a responsibility for the lifetime of the animal. Unfortunately, every year around this time the Shelter receives large numbers of lost or abandoned dogs and cats.
"This can be due to a number of factors, including the ongoing cost of caring for a pet, the challenge of training pets essential behavioural skills, and families returning to work and school after the holidays.
"Different pets grow to different sizes, have differing appetites and temperaments, and differing training and exercise needs. Please do your research carefully before deciding which pet is the right fit for your family, if any."
Cr McMahon said that if a family is certain that the responsibility of pet ownership is something that they are ready to take on, they should first consider adopting a pet from the Shelter rather than from a pet store or breeder.
"We have a large selection of beautiful cats and dogs just waiting for a second chance at a forever home," she said.
"They are much cheaper than from a shop or breeder, and come with microchipping, lifetime council registration, desexing and their first vaccination."
Council also reminds residents that pets can become frightened by loud noises such as fireworks and party noises during the festive season, and many animals are upset by the thunder and lightning from electrical storms.
Owners should ensure their animals are kept safely secured and if possible are allowed to be close to their owners during these events.
Residents should be aware that if a pet goes missing, it is possible the animal may have been picked up by council's rangers and taken to the shelter at Mulgrave.