We all know that you shouldn’t get a pet at Christmas or give one as a present, and we all know that (R)SPCAs and other welfare and AR groups wouldn’t dream of allowing it because so much is happening over the holiday that it would confuse and distress the animal. . .
Or would they?
The RSPCA in the UK certainly don’t think it is a bad thing for an animal to go to a new home for Christmas. In November they were running an appeal for fosterers “willing to take in a cat or rabbit to care for over the festive period“
Perhaps it is only dogs who become confused when introduced to Christmas festivities?
Not according to RSPCA Queensland in Australia. Spokesman Michael Beatty said that it was a misconception that the RSPCA discouraged people from buying pets at Christmas.
The RSPCA actually encourages the responsible buying of pets and Mr. Beatty said that the Christmas holiday period is an an ideal time for the family to bond with their new pet and start training sessions.
They don’t, however, believe pets should be given as surprise gifts, and so have created a special gift voucher that recipients can redeem in person and choose a pet that suits them.
Sadly, in the UK, Sheffield RSPCA, along with many other RSPCA rehoming centers, stops its adoption scheme in the build up to Christmas to prevent potentially irresponsible people from getting dogs as Christmas presents.
Eddie Waiting for a home for 12 months
Clyde, also waiting for a home after 12 months
Back in Australia RSPCA Queensland have no such worries. Under their Give a Dog a Home initiative this Christmas they have been adopting dogs over four months old for only $199 until the end of December.
and RSPCA New South Wales halved the adoption fee of all adult cats until the 24th December.
RSPCA Toowoomba shelter manager Cassie Walker with Willow, one of the many dogs up for adoption from the Toowoomba shelter.
West Lothian Cats Protection in the UK never ever rehome a cat or kitten as a present for someone else and claim that many of those given as presents will find themselves homeless and abandoned by Boxing Day.
Both RSPCA (UK) and Animal Aid agree that pets should not be given as Christmas presents. They describe pets as a ‘terrible present’ and the RSPCA suggests that people should instead make a donation to the RSPCA in ‘honour of your loved one’ this Christmas.
The Dogs Trust in the UK banned rehousing animals over the Christmas period, from December 20 to January 2nd, despite all its 18 rehousing centres nationwide being full. They claim this is to prevent unwanted pets being returned in the new year.
Are all Christmas gift dogs in the UK neglected and abandoned? Clearly not!
A girl’s best friend: Rosie Atkins gives new arrival Horatio a hug
The moment people receive a puppy for Christmas is truly magical and guaranteed to put the smile back on your face and the festive joy back in your heart.
Meanwhile in the US Allen County SPCA in Indiana suggests giving animal lovers a Golden Ticket instead of a pet so that they can choose their own animal. Cat golden tickets are $70 and Dogs are $85.
Back in Australia, Friends of RSPCA in Queensland started an urgent cat sale so they could start taking in pets dumped in the pound over Christmas.
The RSPCA shelter in Darwin is full of unwanted cats and dogs.
In New Zealand the Dunedin SPCA has offered a half-price adoption deal for female cats as their shelter is near full capacity. They have asked people to make sure that pets given as Christmas presents are actually wanted.
The SPCA of Niagara in the US has beaten this by offering free dog adoptions until Christmas eve and by the 16th December had found new homes for more than 40 dogs, although, as they said, the supply remained large.
By the 24th December the month long special at the no kill shelter had helped find homes for more than 70 dogs. They too discourage the giving of pets as an unexpected gift.
Dogs and cats at the Lakeland SPCA in Florida even found homes on Christmas eve as a long line formed around the building.
Kenneth Wingate, right, of Lakeland, waits in the packed lobby of the SPCA in Lakeland as he holds “Brandi,” a 10-month-old female English pointer he and his wife, Pamela, adopted on Monday as a Christmas present for their 16-year-old daughter, Sommer. A large number of people came to the center to adopt pets on Christmas Eve.
SPCA Florida CEO Sean Hawkins said that although the center was supposed to close at 3 p.m. they planned to stay open long enough to take care of all the people who were in line by then. He said they always encourage thoughtful additions of new family members during the holidays, and from December 16 to Saturday had reached 131 completed adoptions.
Cats were reduced from $55 to $10 with the second feline adoption fee being waived.
Large dogs, over 40 pounds were reduced from an average of $100 to $50, while small dogs were down from an average of $200 to $100.
Despite the tail wagging Christmas Eve joy over in Florida, an Australian Pet store in Adelaide, the Pet Spot, refused to sell puppies until after Christmas.
Back in New Zealand the Palmerston North SPCA urged peope to avoid buying animals as gifts except where it has been a family decision. Staff have taken a hard line this year to prevent the SPCA becoming a ‘dumping ground’. Their staff no longer go out and hunt for strays to take in for food and shelter. Palmerston North SPCA has had a stong year prosecuting people.
Meanwhile, in the US the Christmas joy continued for the second Christmas adoption programme as Cumberland County South Jersey SPCA delivered pets on Christmas morning.
Cumberland County South Jersey SPCA delivered pets on Christmas morning
Volunteers placed kittens in the arms of excited children who were told that Santa’s helpers had a special delivery for them. The kittens came with enough cat food and litter to get them through Christmas Day.
Some of the cats, kittens and puppies were taken home before the big day.
The programme started after a volunteer saw another shelter in Texas doing the same.
They seem to have got it right.
Delighted, Jackson and Olivia played with the kittens in front of their Christmas tree and appeared oblivious to the fact they were surrounded by other gifts.
“These are the best kittens ever,” Olivia said.
A Christmas wish come true
Still in the US, at North Country SPCA, New York, the 31 Cats of December featured thirty-one very special cats, many of whom were long term residents of the shelter, whose adoption fee was waived until the end of the month.
The SPCA of Cincinnati found homes for 2000 more animals in 2012 than last year, the increase being partly fuelled by low adoption costs of $20 for dogs and $10 for cats. They ran extended holiday adoption hours right up to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Back in the UK again, the Scottish SPCA is not rehoming young animals between 20 December and 3 January to “prevent them being taken on by someone who wants a new pet for Christmas and hasn’t fully thought through their decision” according to Superintendent Sharon Comrie.
The SSPCA had 804 animals in their care on Christmas Day.
And now that Christmas is over, who got it right? The answer is your answer to the question:
If you were a child or a pound puppy this Christmas, how would you rather have spent the holiday season?