Urgent Message From PETA: Animals Aren’t Holiday Gifts

For Immediate Release:
December 11, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

Ahead of the festivities around the holiday season, PETA is warning against giving animals as gifts. Dogs, cats, and other animals require many years of commitment and care, and this entails numerous expenses—and by sharing this information, you may help to prevent them from being bought from pet shops or breeders or ending up in overburdened shelters once the novelty’s worn off.

Please consider the following before acquiring an animal.

  • Animals are not gifts: Cats and dogs are living beings who have long life spans and complex needs, and caring for them requires significant investments of time and money. Many people who receive them as gifts ultimately aren’t willing or able to exercise and housetrain them and pay for food, accessories (such as toys, grooming supplies, leashes and harnesses, and bedding), inoculations, and veterinary care.
  • Children may not be ready: Young children may unintentionally harm animals when they think they’re playing with them, and they may not be able to understand animals’ stress signals if their tails or ears are pulled, putting them at risk of being scratched or bitten. Because children frequently move from one thing to the next, parents who unrealistically expect a child to bear the responsibility of an animal’s care may end up turning the animal over to a shelter or another home once the child loses interest, despite being legally responsible for the animal.
  • There are too few happy endings: Because many people who receive an animal as a gift weren’t looking for one, shelters see an uptick in animal drop-offs over the holidays. Animals could also end up chained and neglected in someone’s backyard or even abandoned to fend for themselves outdoors.

Buying an animal from a breeder or pet store also takes a potential home away from a dog or cat at a local animal shelter. Shelters are generally filled beyond capacity with homeless animals on Christmas and all year round.

PETA offers fun and festive public-service announcements (available here, here, and here) about this important issue. For more information, visit PETA.org.

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