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Patriot Expressions

Adopting Presents

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The West Memphis animal shelter has many kittens up for adoption this holiday season.

The West Memphis animal shelter has many kittens up for adoption this holiday season.

Photo provided by the West Memphis Animal Shelter.

Photo provided by the West Memphis Animal Shelter.

The West Memphis animal shelter has many kittens up for adoption this holiday season.

Mary Claire Reece, Reporter and Photographer

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For Christmas, many young children dream of getting a pet as a gift. However, giving pets as gifts may not be the best choice. After every Christmas season, animal shelters experience a large influx of pets who were bought as presents. For many families, it would be wise to consider adopting from shelters rather than buying and to carefully consider having any pets brought into the home.

Buying pets from a breeder is more expensive and, in the long run, more costly to maintain their health. Many pets bought from breeders have not received vaccinations or been spayed or neutered. On the other hand, shelters are required by law to spay and neuter before the pet can be adopted, saving pet adopters close to $175.

Animals who have not received their needed vaccinations can contract diseases and other viruses. Buying a pet does not ensure the animal has received proper vaccinations.

In the Marion and West Memphis shelters, there is an adoption fee of $100. On the other hand, buying a pet can cost upwards of $1000 depending on the pet and breed. In addition to the monetary benefits, adopting helps save the lives of homeless pets who were abandoned and sometimes abused.

To prevent the mistreatment of animals, consider adopting rather than buying a new pet. Pets in shelters, despite common myths, are often loving and compassionate if treated properly. According to the American Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 1.5 million pets are adopted from shelters in the US alone, but 6.5 million are put into shelters yearly, leaving 3 million in the shelters and 1.5 million euthanized.

Photo provided by the West Memphis Animal Shelter.
Adoption can be a great alternative to buying a pet from a breeder. The dog pictured is currently at the West Memphis Animal Shelter.

However, all pet owners should carefully research and ensure that they are prepared for the duties of owning a pet. Many pets are put up for adoption due to the new owner’s lack of knowledge of the realities of pet ownership. When buying a pet, owners are often not aware of the behavior of the pet or breed qualities, leaving both the owner and the pet unhappy.

After holidays that have made animals a popular gift choice shelters are often flooded with the unwanted or returned pets. Shelters become overpopulated, and this is not healthy for the animals. This new, foreign environment can stress the animals with excessive sound, other animals, and lack of human interaction, leaving them stranded until someone else chooses to adopt them.  

This Christmas, if you are gifting a pet, be ready for the responsibilities that come with the animal and consider adopting before buying.

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