Animal shelters advise against giving pets as holiday gifts

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) Local animal shelters advise against giving pets as presents this holiday, because they end up in their care more often than not.

Start Over Rover advises against giving pets as presents this holiday, because they end up in their care more often than not. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

Anne Halbert, executive director of Start Over Rover, said they see a huge influx of calls in January of people who got pets as Christmas presents, and no longer want them.

"I would bet we get at least ten calls a week with people having animals that (say), "we just don't have time." "This was given to us as a gift." Now of course we can't take everything in, because you only have so much space, but we take in everything that we can," Halbert said.

She said typically more people call wanting to bring in their dogs, because they're usually more maintenance than cats.

Halbert said people looking to get a pet need to think about how that animal would best fit into their lifestyle, and people at the shelter can help them do that.

She said dog breeds like huskies are collies tend to be more energetic, and need more exercise and training. Smaller dogs like shih tzus might fit in better with a quiet family. People who are gone a lot might do better with a cat. But it really depends on the animal itself.

"A lot of times what we might think we want, and then when we start meeting animals, it's very different, because it's based off of personalities of each individual animal, whether it be dog or cat to match with the family, or whether there's other animals in that family as well," Halbert said.

Start Over Rover requires all possible owners to fill out an application themselves. That means it's not really possible for someone to give an animal to someone else as a gift. Halbert said they're always happy to work with people to figure out the right pet for them.

Halbert also said they like to remind people that animals are a commitment for their life. She said some large dog breeds can live 11 plus years, and cats can live more than 15 years.

With that in mind, she said people need to know what they're getting into before taking in a pet.