The type and amount of animals that come into local Animal Shelters varies during different times of year. Very noticeable trends begin to surface, and it is easy to determine why Shelters get more animals during certain seasons.
During the holiday season almost every religion in the country is celebrating one holiday or another, and almost all of these holidays involve gifts of some time. Many people make the mistake of giving the gift of an animal to a friend during the holidays. They do not realize that the responsibility of caring for a pet is not for everyone, and this contributes to a disturbing trend of more nice animals being turned into local Shelters after the holidays.
Gifting a pet to a friend who has not explicitly asked for one is a bad idea because you do not know what the specific situation of your friend is. There are many reasons your friend may not want or cannot have a pet. When you surprise your friend with an animal this holiday season you may be placing them in an uncomfortable situation.
Many people do not like returning gifts to the person that provided it; they would rather return the gift to the store and act gracious when receiving the gift. The problem with this philosophy regarding animals is they are living beings. There is no “doggy store” where you can return all animals you do not want. So the local Animal Shelters wind up picking up the slack.
A disproportionately large number of nice, adoptable animals come into shelters from being turned in because of this phenomenon. People think they are doing a good thing by giving an animal a chance, and giving it to a friend. Animal Shelters are already overburdened with the normal flow of animals coming in and out though. So during the holidays when this trend tends to pick up many nice animals that would have had a chance before have to be put down to make room. There are “No Kill” shelters out there, but if they are full they will turn people away.
So our society needs to stop this disturbing trend. We need to quit giving animals as gifts, unless asked directly for one. We need to stop our disposable nature, and we need to make sure to spay and neuter our pets. If they are fixed we have fewer litters of puppies coming into our local Animal Shelters, and give other dogs a better fighting chance.