MANILA — The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia is urging everyone not to give pets as Christmas presents, especially to those who are not prepared to take care of an animal. The animal rights group said just because animals look cute under the Christmas tree doesn't mean that they make good holiday gifts.
Unlike gifts that are easy to return, re-gift, or forget about, puppies and kittens require a big commitment and should not be adopted on impulse or given as a gift. Both need lots of patience and understanding, room to grow physically and mentally, and a fat wallet for sterilization, shots, deworming, grooming, food, medicine, and toys.
When given as gifts to those who can't properly take care of them, the puppies and kittens risk ending up in shelters sooner or later.
“In the weeks following the holidays, already overwhelmed animal shelters will be flooded with 'Christmas cats' and 'Christmas dogs' and other animals will wind up at the end of a chain—simply because they didn't fit into someone's lifestyle. Caring for an animal is a 15-year (or more) commitment, and those who are given as gifts to unprepared recipients are often discarded once the novelty wears off,” said PETA.
PETA also said animal shelters are filled beyond capacity with homeless animals, many of whom were former "pets" who were surrendered because a child lost interest and no one else stepped in and took the time to provide training and care. Dogs need outdoor exercise every single day, and a huge time investment is required to train (and housetrain) a puppy—children aren't mature enough to handle this responsibility. The decision to adopt an animal companion should be carefully considered by the whole family and not made on a whim.
"People who aren't ready to adopt but want to share a little Christmas cheer with homeless animals this holiday season can donate dog and cat food, toys, bedding, or other items to their local animal shelter," says PETA Vice President of International Campaigns Jason Baker. "PETA also encourages prospective guardians never to buy a dog or a cat from a breeder, as doing so robs animals in shelters of the chance at a loving home."
If you're sure that someone is interested in adopting an animal and has the time, ability, and resources to care for one year-round, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to abuse in any way"—recommends taking him or her to an animal shelter after the holidays to find one who fits that person's lifestyle.
For more information on animal adoption and cruelty-free Christmas gifts, please visit PETAAsia.com or our Facebook page.