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Return to Sender: Holiday Pet Gifts

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Puppies and kittens purchased as holiday gifts are some of the first presents being returned in the new year.

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It seemed like a great idea to surprise your loved one with an adorable puppy for the holidays, but unwanted pets are surrendered to shelters each January and February. Even more pets are returned in the upcoming months once the cute puppies become untrained dogs.

Trisha St. George, spokesperson for the Helen Woodward Animal Center in California, says kennels are trying to make more room for dogs and cats impulsively bought from breeders and puppy mills simply looking to profit. 

The Helen Woodward Animal Center and many other shelters do not allow adopting pets as gifts -- unless the receiver accompanies the buyer to the shelter and participates in the application process. St. George says screening potential new owners is a way to troubleshoot pet surrendering.

Around 3,500 shelters worldwide took part in the "Iams Home 4 the Holidays" program this season with The Helen Woodward Animal Center. They broke adoption records by finding loving homes for over one million pets.

St. George says successful pet adoption is about "matching the needs of the pet with the desires of the family." She suggests families visit their local shelters together and make a unified decision about whether to adopt an animal.

Do you think pets make good presents, or would you only adopt an animal for your own family?


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