When to give pets as gifts

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Volunteers say they see it every year. People bring home a dog or a cat thinking it's the perfect gift.

"They think that they are going to take an animal into their home and within an hour the animal will adjust to its environment and when it doesn't they call us and want to bring the animal back."

Carol Arnolds from the Marion Regional Humane Society says this happens for several reasons.

"One, some people don't realize that children are not mature enough to take care of an animal and two, they don't know how to properly feed and care for it, they just think it's a new toy," said Arnolds.

They say it's difficult for someone who isn't there to make that commitment.

So volunteers have come up with ways to avoid this problem from happening again and again.

"We require that if a pet is going to be given as a gift, the person that is receiving a gift needs to come out and pick out the pet and agree that this is what they want," said Kay Creese, a veterinarian with St. Francis Care in Murphysboro.

So if a puppy or kitten has made your child's Christmas list, volunteers say there are some things you need to remember.

"It's a lifelong commitment to the animal. Some animals live 15 years, I've got a cat that is 25 years old. They have got to be responsible and take it to the vet, and that costs money. They need to take that into consideration too," said Arnolds.

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