WUFT News

Humane Society Urges People To Think Before Gifting Pets

By on November 29th, 2013
Officials from the Alachua County and Northeast Florida Humane Societies are concerned that people don't weigh the consequences of gifting a pet during the holidays.

Katherine McAdoo/Flickr

Local Humane Society officials are concerned that people don't weigh the consequences of gifting a pet during the holidays.

There is usually an increase in pet adoptions during the holiday season, when a furry companion often seems like a perfect gift for an animal lover.

Before making that decision, the Humane Society of Northeast Florida, Inc., and the Alachua County Humane Society is encouraging people to seriously consider the commitment of pet ownership and whether the person it’s meant for can properly care for the animal.

Gifting animals sometimes means imposing responsibility on someone who may not want it, said Amanda Burks, executive director for the Alachua County Humane Society.

“We don’t say it’s necessarily a horrible idea, but we encourage people to really think about it before they make that choice because it’s such a huge responsibility,” Burks said.

The Humane Society of Northeast Florida tries to protect its animals from impulsive adoptions around the holidays, said employee Cindyy D’Agostine.

“Adoptions do pick up around the holidays, so we just try to scan the people as best as possible,” she said.

D’Agostine said people should take all the demands that come with adopting or purchasing an animal into consideration.

“All the needs an animal will have should be considered, such as its training and health,” she said. “Pets will leave our center heartworm free and then be returned to us testing positive for heartworms.”

Both Burks and D’Agostine recalled pets being returned after being given as gifts because the people receiving the animals couldn’t take care of them.

“We had someone a few months ago adopt a dog for his wife shortly after their family pet passed away,” Burks said. “The dog came back the next day because the wife just wasn’t ready.”

D’Agostine said numerous dogs were returned to the shelter after the 2012 holiday season.

“We had 14 dogs returned this past April,” she said. “Sometimes it takes a few months to upwards of a year before the animals find their way back to us after the holiday season.”

There is no penalty to return a pet, D’Agostine said, and if a person or family doesn’t wish to keep the animal, bringing it back to the shelter is actually encouraged.

“We do always take back pets and try to re-adopt them,” she said. “We have people fill out forms to say why they are bringing the animal(s) back, and we get the same responses saying someone has died and is no longer able to take care of it or someone’s kid has allergies — most people make up excuses.”

The Humane Society of Northeast Florida will travel to retrieve animals that have been dumped or taken to kill shelters.

“We went as far as Georgia to pick up a cat one time that was just dumped,” D’Agostine said.

Although college students make up a significant portion of Alachua County residents, Burks said students aren’t the greatest contributors to animals being returned or abandoned.

“It does happen, but the biggest reason isn’t because college students are dumping them,” Burks said. “There isn’t a huge influx regarding semesters.”

As the holidays approach, Burks and D’Agostine said people should think mainly of the big impact a pet as a gift could have on someone else’s life.

“A pet is forever,” D’Agostine said.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Larneice Williams brings her 6-year-old Chihuahua, Mr. King, to the St. Francis Pet Care  every other Tuesday to get his routinely checkup and food. Mr. King is considered a regular at the clinic.

Clinic Offers Health Care For Pets Every Tuesday

The Saint Francis House Pet Care Clinic provides free non-emergency health care for pets of economically troubled owners four times a month. In the colder months, they give out cold weather clothes and blankets because homeless shelters do not allow animals unless they are service animals.


Rozie Smith, a volunteer with Food4Kids Backpack program works together with fellow volunteer, Brantley Mason, to put together a canned food box at the organization’s warehouse as the holiday season approaches

Local Organization Fills Christmas Spirit “One Belly At A Time”

Food4Kids Backpack Program of North Florida Inc., is furthering its year-round fight against food insecurity for youth by providing food during the winter holidays to students who mainly rely on meals during school hours.


The drop box for letters to Santa stands at the left entrance of the Gainesville Post Office. Mail handlers check the drop box for submissions four to five times a day.

Operation Santa Seeks Benefactors

Gainesville Post Office participates in the Santa Operation program for the first time. The program started receiving letters from across the country starting Dec. 2, and it will match the benefactors until Monday.


Alachua County migrant children receive gifts from the Angel Tree charity project last Christmas. 

Photo courtesy of Alachua County Multi-County Migrant Education program.

Angel Tree Shines Light On Migrant Families

The Angel Tree Charity Project helps make sure struggling migrant families have a normal Christmas. Hundreds of families are helped with the charity project.


Newnans Lake, shown here near 7400 E. University Ave., in Gainesville, Fla.

Alachua County Receives Florida’s 36th State Forest

The 1,000-plus acres of diverse land west of Newnans Lake in Gainesville will provide bicycle and hiking trails for the public in spring 2015.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments