Experts say to be careful when gifting pets as Christmas presents

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 7:16 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - With Christmas around the corner, you’re probably thinking about the perfect gift for your loved one. It’s important to think twice before giving a pet as a present, no matter how cute that puppy or kitten may be.

Emily’s Legacy Rescue said pets can be a 20+ year commitment and should never be given away without including the potential pet owner in the decision.

“It’s really hard, if you have animals, make sure you are willing to do anything and everything for them,” Anna Oxford, dog owner, said.

Oxford owns three dogs, all of which are rescues. She said as much as she loves them, they are a huge responsibility and explained why she thinks it may not be the best idea to gift them as a Christmas present.

“I’ve seen that happen a few times with animals. The people got them for Christmas or their birthdays and then they didn’t want them once they got to a certain size,” Oxford said.

Animal rescues like Emily’s Legacy Rescue has also seen a trend in which pets are abandoned after owners realize how long of a commitment they are, which Kimber Hopkins, president of Emily’s Legacy Rescue, said is up to 20+ years.

“I’ve seen that happen, luckily for us, it’s only happened a couple of times in the last eight years that we’ve been in existence. Usually, it’s three or four years before they finally bring them back,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said pet owners are not just responsible for their dogs financially but it is also up to them to care for and love them to the point where they are considered family.

“You’re going to provide the medical, food, water, shelter and the love that an animal needs that it becomes a part of your family. As long as you were going to make that commitment to begin with, I’m all on board for that,” Hopkins said.

Eric Aleman owns three dogs and believes pets should not be viewed as simple gift.

“They’re not a gift. They’re not regular toys. They’re going to need lots of love, let’s say that,” Aleman said.

Hopkins said they always do complete background checks to make sure they don’t have any returning animals and leave them in the hands of a loving owner who is fully aware of what it takes to be one.