Tis’ the Season to be jolly, unless you are one of hundreds of animals across the country that are brought to animal shelters around the holidays. All over the nation, animal shelters report a very large increase in the number of pets dropped off right before the holidays and into the New Year. Many of these animals are even returned to the same shelters that they were adopted from originally! Shelter operators feel that the reason for this spike in abandonment is two-fold; either a financial inability to care for the pet after gifting the pet without a plan to care for it, or an inability to plan family holiday vacations around the care of the new animal. Either way, these poor animals get a new family and get attached to that family, only to be sent packing right before the holidays or soon after. Besides the emotional trauma to the animals, this causes a severe strain on shelters around the country.
The good news for many pet owners that find themselves in a bind financially around the holidays is that many rescue organizations have resources available to assist them. Some rescue leagues, shelters and animal organizations have food available or funds to assist in getting food or care for pet owners that couldn’t otherwise afford to care for their pet. Before deciding to return a pet it would be a great idea to call the local shelter and inquire if there are community pet resources available.
Many shelters also waive or significantly reduce pet adoption fees at this time of the year as an incentive to families looking to adopt. This serves two purposes for the shelters. They can find loving homes for the animals, while also reducing the numbers of animals at a time when they are at high capacity. Again, prospective families should contact the local shelters to see if there are any “specials” going on at this time of year. If you have been planning on adopting a new family member, this just may be the time to do it!
Finally, if you are a concerned pet owner or animal lover and have any charitable donations you need to make before the end of the tax year, a great option is your local pet rescue organization. These groups are always in need of funds to keep their efforts going for the coming year. As this is one of the busiest and most costly times of year for rescue organizations, it is also one of the times funds are most needed.
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Don’t “Scrooge” animals during the holidays. Help them instead.