JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As much as animal shelters want to see their animals go to good homes, they also advise people not to give a dog or a cat as a present.
Advocates say that’s because most pets that are given as a gift end up right back at the shelter.
“The advertisers all have the people opening the boxes with a puppy jumping out on Christmas morning and that’s a lovely hallmark movie thought,” Elizabeth Jackson with the Animal Rescue Fund sees it all the time.
It’s the perfect hallmark story line with a not so happy ending.
“The biggest time for pets to enter into the shelter is July when the puppy is grown up and is no longer a cute and fluffy puppy nobody wants him anymore and so we have a huge intake in the shelter in July.”
Jackson says ARF doesn’t adopt out pets from decemeber 20th to January 1st, because they’re so used to seeing pets being brought back to the shelter.
“The kids all want it and think it’s great and the parents say take care of it but the kid loves to take care of it for a few weeks and the kid’s life happens like football and stuff and the kids just get over it, and the parent’s don’t want to take care of the kid’s present, so they just bring it back,” she explained.
Two weeks ago a concerned neighbor called the ARF about a dog that was abandoned in a back yard. Jackson says the dog was starving and dehydrated.
“She was terribly dehydrated, her gums were absolutely white, she hadn’t been given any water you could see all of her bones, you could see her spine her hips and all of that,” she said.
Jackson said she later found out the dog was a gift from a boyfriend to a girlfriend and the couple broke up so the girlfriend abandoned the dog.
“That’s the problem with giving animals as gifts animals are living breathing loving creatures that suffer pain and have emotions.”
An alternative to giving a pet as a gift is giving someone a dog bed or cat tree and taking them to pick out an animal. That way they can choose one they connect and bond with.
Another alternative is to make a donation to an animal shelter like ARF in someone’s name and you can help feed and care for a dog or cat in the shelter.