Helsinki residents have tens of thousands of pets for companionship and hobbies. Dogs and cats account for the majority. In 2005, dog tax was paid for almost 15,000 dogs. The number of rodents, reptiles and caged birds has also shown a significant increase over last year. A pet is often an important family member, a part of nature that is close to us, and an irreplaceable friend in today’s society. Owning a pet is a great responsibility.
A pet is fully dependent on the care it is given. The correct food, cleanliness and health, and being treated fairly are the basic rights to which all pets are entitled, and they are enshrined under animal protection legislation.
The need for exercise, the instincts for a breed or species, and the need for social interaction call for particular attention in urban conditions, where the population density is high, and apartment block living restricts the opportunities for activity.