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Shelters experience post-holiday uptick in people bringing in pets

“A lot of pets were bought or adopted as a gift to somebody, and maybe the recipient wasn’t wanting a pet, and so now that leaves that pet homeless and looking for a new home,”
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 6:55 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Animal shelters and rescues are seeing a huge uptick in animal intake this time of year, and that’s because of people not wanting pets they were gifted for Christmas.

“A lot of pets were bought or adopted as a gift to somebody, and maybe the recipient wasn’t wanting a pet, and so now that leaves that pet homeless and looking for a new home,” said Greater Huntsville Humane Society acting CEO Spencer Batcheller.

It’s a problem all too common for shelters and rescues after the holidays. A shelter in Morgan County says they’ve had almost ten dogs dropped off in the last two days. They say they’re not a no-kill shelter, and when kennels fill up, they can only do so much.

At Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter, they’ve only had one puppy brought back after Christmas so far, but have had many calls from people who plan to bring theirs in. Director Priscilla Blenkinsopp says people get pets, and realize they’re too much.

“Especially the puppies and kittens like they don’t have time for them, they’re chewing up things in the house,” said Blenkinsopp.

“Some people were getting a pet thinking this is a great time to get one, not realizing the work it actually took to keep the pet and make sure it’s a safe home for both the human and the pet,” said Batcheller.

Batcheller says this poses a big issue to shelters. Batcheller says as for how to prevent this - really work with whoever you plan to gift a pet to.

“Come in with them to a shelter and let them pick out a pet to make sure it’s the best fit for the human and the pet. I would also recommend if you did chose to get a pet during the holidays, give it time,” said Batcheller.

Blenkinsopp says, do your research.

“How it’s going to be as a puppy, what activity levels it will need, you know just do research to see what you need,” said Blenkinsopp.

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