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Why pets don't make the best presents

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December 22, 2015 - 11:30 AM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - While it might seem like the perfect present on Christmas morning, the B.C. SPCA would rather you didn’t give pets as gifts.

People put a lot of value in their gifts but the society generally discourages the giving of animals, Valerie Wilson of the Kamloops SPCA says.

“Do your research. Know that that person really wants to give that animal a home,” Wilson says.

Last season a pet pig was dropped off at the shelter, she notes. The gift-giver thought he had found his girlfriend something special for Christmas but she had neither the time nor the desire to care for the animal.

People are often impulsive and can even be persuaded into something like a pet pig from something they see on social media, Wilson says.

“People see something on Facebook and think ‘oh I want one!’ No, you don't want one, you think you want one,” she says.

People can forget those cute kittens, puppies and even piglets grow up and sometimes aren’t so cute anymore. Wilson points out that pets are a commitment past Christmas Day — cats and small dogs can live for twenty years.

Wilson says gift-givers must take the receiver’s lifestyle into account. A family with small children or a single person who’s never home might not be able to look after a puppy.

She suggests a way to broach the situation would be gifting pet supplies instead of the actual pet.

“Put a litter box and bunch of cat toys under the tree then say ‘we'll go pick it out together,’” Wilson says.

This way the receiver is much more involved in process and squeaky toys are much more returnable if it’s decided a kitten isn’t the best gift.

The absolute worst case scenario would be if the SPCA would have to remove an animal from a home. An unwanted pet could amount to a neglected pet Wilson says.

The bottom line, is every pet must be placed in a home that wants it and can more than adequately care for it.

“(The SPCA) is not a shoe store. We don't do returns and exchanges.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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