Study backs pets as presents, but holdouts remain

12/21/2013 7:59 AM

12/21/2013 7:59 AM

Giving a puppy or kitten to the pet lover on your list is a gift idea animal activists have long warned people to avoid. But a national animal welfare group says the fears of pets being rejected or returned are unfounded.

A telephone survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says about 96 percent of responding owners who got their pet as a gift (whether it was a surprise or not) said the way they got the animal increased or had no impact on their love or attachment. About 86 percent of those pets were still in the home or remained with the family until the animals passed away – the same rate as pets obtained in other ways.

Until those results, even the ASPCA advised against giving pets as gifts.

Emily Weiss, the nonprofit’s vice president for shelter research and development, says the holidays are an ideal time to adopt a pet “because many of us have time off, and we are around and focused on home and family.”

But not all shelters are convinced. The shelter manager of the Beacon Rescue Animal Shelter in Ocean View, N.J., says there’s too much stimulation on Christmas morning for families’ new furry friends.

But Joan Adams of Niagara Falls, N.Y., says the holiday season is a great time for adoptions. She got her dog Bella last Dec. 22. She suggested adoptions can help alleviate the Christmastime boost in depression.

“Dogs or cats or whatever the animal require your attention, so you don’t concentrate on yourself so much. You concentrate on the animal. It gets people through the holidays and all the days after,” Adams said.

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