For years, animal activist groups have not supported the idea of giving a pet as a present, but one group is changing its tune.
An Associated Press article said the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals conducted a telephone survey that showed 96 percent of pet owners who received a pet as a gift said the gesture either increased or had no impact on the love or attachment they felt for their pet. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said their gifted pets were still in the home or had remained with the family until they passed away.
Washington County-Johnson City Animal Control Officer Randy Buchanan said while the thought behind adopting and gifting an animal for a loved one is nice, he said gifting pets during the holidays is something they discourage.
Buchanan said a lot of thought should always go into adopting a dog or cat for someone because there are some hiccups that can follow, such as gifting a dog or a cat to someone who doesn’t want it, have time for it or the even bigger problem of that person not being allowed to have the animal.
He said a lot of times apartment complexes don’t allow pets, so people who receive a pet during the holidays end up putting that pet back into the animal shelter system.
Another consideration overlooked when it comes to the excitement of getting someone a pet is whether that person, or someone in their household, is allergic to the animal.
A solution to the pet-present problem could be gift certificates that Buchanan said are available at the animal shelter.
“The person who wants to give it, they come up here and they pay ... and we fill out ... a gift certificate in the name of who they are giving it to,” he said. “Make sure before you spend the money to do that, that the person you are giving it to is able to have such pets.”
If a gift certificate is not the route they want to go, Buchanan added that the gifter could tell their friend or loved one that they will take them to the animal shelter, let them pick out a pet and then tell them that they will be paying for the animal.
He said giving pets as presents for the elderly and small children should also be cautioned. If you’re thinking about giving a dog or a cat to an elderly person, be sure that person is able to care for the animal. The elderly person will need to be able to perform certain things multiple times a day — such as physically be able to let the animal outside, feed it and give it water.
“Adopting puppies and cats for children is a no-no,” he said.
Buchanan said a lot of times parents end up taking care of the pets, rather than the kids, so parents need to be aware of their role and responsibility that comes with bringing a dog or cat home.
To inquire about pet adoption or about pet gift cards, call the Washington County-Johnson City Animal Shelter at 926-8769 or visit the shelter at 525 Sells Ave.