COLORADO SPRINGS — It’s the season of giving and some families might be looking to add a pet to their family as a gift. But before you buy a pet as a present, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region wants you to be aware of the responsibility of having a pet.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, animal shelters take in more than 6 million animals each year. Just over four million of those pets are adopted each year, leaving many animals in shelters, or laid to rest.
Four percent of dogs and three percent of cats are given as gifts every year. While gifting a furry friend may seem like a good idea, it does come with a big commitment. Some pets live between 10 and 15 years, if not longer, and owning a pet can cost you about 1,000 dollars a year. The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region says winter is a slow season for the Colorado Springs shelter. But after the holidays, they do usually see a slight increase in the number of animals placed in their shelter. Last year, the shelter received an additional 12 animals returned after the holidays. shelter wants people to think twice before committing to adopting a pet.
“The holidays are a great time to bring a pet home but we do strongly discourage bringing a pet home as a surprise gift to somebody, just because pets are such a commitment and we do recommend if you are going to give the pet as a gift, make sure the recipient is aware of the commitment,” said Cody Costra, public relations manager at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
“It’s a monetary commitment, it’s a time commitment, it is almost a chore commitment. Pets need to be taken care of almost every single day, whether that is giving them food and water and it’s also taking care of them medically as well if your pet ever gets injured or gets out or gets into something," said Costra.
According to PETA, the holidays are a stressful time to bring a new animal into your home. That’s because homes are often filled with noisy new toys and strangers coming and going. This can be frightening for a new pet, especially one that has experienced trauma.
If you find yourself in a situation where you can no longer care for your pet, local shelters are here to take in adoptions. Also, if your pet runs away, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region will keep dogs for five days and cats for three days before putting them up for adoption.