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Holiday pet adoptions are actually helpful, say animal protection groups

Holiday pet adoptions are encouraged
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Humane Society puppies up for adoption File photo

Santa and his elves. A list somewhere noting who is naughty and nice. A tricked out reindeer sleigh can travel way faster than the speed of light. Holiday pet adoptions are always a bad idea.

Out of all the Christmas myths, the one most easily flattened is that puppies and kittens are being used as spur-of-the-moment gifts to be discarded once the holidays are over.

Or so says Jennifer Fine, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, as well as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

The Humane Society’s data shows that there is not an uptick in adoptions around the holidays, with adoptions remaining pretty similar month-to-month, Fine said via email. 

“There are variables of course, like how many animals are available … but for the most part things are pretty consistent around here,” she said.

The Humane Society of Boulder Valley also does not take any additional measures to screen adopters during the holidays, Fine said. Prospective owners are checked to see if they are 18-years-old, are able to pay the adoption fee, have a permanent home address and are able to safely transport the animal home, she said.

Data from the ASPCA states that pets given as gifts actually have a great retention rate. “Debunking the myth that animals who weren’t specifically chosen by their new owners may be considered less valuable,” Fine said.

The ASPCA notes that many animal welfare organizations have policies that ban pets from being adopted during the holidays so they won’t be used as gifts. In fact, those policies may unnecessarily impede the overall goal of increasing adoptions from the country’s shelters, according to a 2013 ASPCA study.

“We found that receiving a dog or cat as a gift is not associated with impact on self-perceived love/attachment, or whether the dog or cat was still in the home,” the study states. “These results suggest there is no increased risk of relinquishment of dogs or cats received as a gift.”

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