Help homeless animals first

Published 8:03 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2009

To the Editor:

Thank you for warning readers about the dangers of giving animals as gifts (“Pass up that doggy in the window,” 12/22/09).

Bringing a dog or cat into the family means making a commitment for the lifetime of that animal. Properly caring for an animal requires a significant amount of time, patience, and money — all of which are scarce during the holidays.

Unlike ugly ties or ill-fitting sweaters, animals can’t simply be “returned” if they don’t work out. Animals have feelings: Being banished to a lonely chain in the back yard, surrendered to a shelter or dumped on the streets to die is extremely traumatic.

Buying an animal from a breeder or pet store contributes to the overpopulation crisis and takes away a potential home from an animal at a shelter.

If you’re certain that the recipient is prepared for an animal, take Michele Thames’ advice and consider giving a “gift certificate” to a local animal shelter. This lets recipients decide which animal is best for them — and when.

You’ll also be giving the gift of life to a homeless animal. To learn more, visit www.HelpingAnimals.com.

Lindsay Pollard-Post

Research Specialist

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals