There is a seemingly harmless tradition surrounding the holidays that can lead to countless ruined lives. The idea of giving animals as gifts has become commonplace for American households, and it is not uncommon to see visuals of a happy family receiving their first puppies and kittens. However, the poor thought and planning put into this tradition can leave many animals, who had the potential for a happy life, to live in abandonment. We at the AC Ranger encourage all to prioritize animal welfare this holiday by rethinking the idea of animals as gifts, as well as, to educate oneself on spaying and neutering their pets.
As gift-giving holidays draw closer, the adoption of animals seems to increase as people buy their loved ones a furry companion Now this may seem positive and happy at face value, it masks the true cruelty of the gift-giving season. Though there are some conflicting arguments.In 2013 the American Humane Association estimated that “over half of all dogs and cats no longer in the home are relinquished to shelters.”
In the weeks after the holidays, many shelters have reported an increase in abandonment and overcrowding of pets, many of which were consequently euthanized. Thankfully, in recent years the number of gifted pets returned to shelters has decreased, however, this shouldn’t be dismissed as an irrelevant issue and does not excuse the frivolity of buying a pet as a gift.
There are many factors to take into account when buying living things for someone else. The ASPCA gives some recommendations on this issue, for example; it is recommended that “if the recipient is under 12 years old, the child’s parents should be ready and eager to assume care for the animal,” this is expected as young children can easily lose interest. Aside from properly planning one’s living gift exchange, there is another factor in prioritizing animal welfare this holiday; desexing. It is a statistical consensus that spaying and neutering cats and dogs help in controlling the plague of overpopulation. However, it is shocking to find out that in an older study done on pet owners, 61.1% of male owners and 47.3% of female owners would not have desexed their dogs if it was not already done.
The ignorance over desexing has lead to an ever-growing overpopulation and homelessness of domesticated dogs and cats. The ASPCA has shown many benefits to spaying and neutering that go into a more personal level. For example, spaying female pets have lead to longer lifespans as well as an elimination of heat, and for male dogs, neutering prevents testicular cancer and leads to better behavior.
Misconceptions, lies, and ignorance spread on the issue of desexing are just as bad as giving unwanted gifts, and both lead to abandonment and overpopulation. Remember to think about animals this holiday, take action to prevent their suffering, and always adopt when ready. More pets that are abandoned means more pets that die.