Iowa City, IOWA (KCRG) - Typically this time of year, animal shelters discourage people from surprising others with pets as Christmas presents.
A puppy plays with its toy at the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 (Mary Green/KCRG)
KCRG-TV9 checked with two shelters, Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center and Cedar Valley Humane Society, both of which said people are heeding that advice.
Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center recommends fostering a dog or cat first to see if the animals are compatible in the home.
The shelter said it’s always a bad idea to give a pet to someone who might not be prepared for it, and people bringing pets to shelters a few weeks or months after Christmas is a strain on both the organization and the animal.
“Animals can be treated just like clothing sometimes. If they don't like the gift that they receive at Christmas, they'll get returned, so we don't want that to happen,” Jen Read, an animal care technician at the shelter, said.
Read said the number of unwanted Christmas pets her shelter takes in has dropped over recent years, something they believe is because of a bigger effort to educate people about what’s required to care for a pet.
The Cedar Valley Humane Society echoed a similar reason for why it doesn’t see many unwanted pets returned after Christmas, adding that it also makes sure the animal is a good fit with its future home and family during the application process.