Pet experts: Pets for gifts not a good idea - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Pet experts: Pets for gifts not a good idea

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

You've seen it in commercials, in movies, and maybe its even happened in front of your own eyes -- someone gets a puppy or kitten for Christmas with a big red bow around the neck.

But animal advocates say that scenario can actually be a bad thing.

Margaret Marter lost her dog back in October. These days she is spending her lunch hour getting acquainted with who could be the newest addition to her family.

"I sent a picture to my husband this morning that says, 'What about this little guy?'" said Marter.

And that is exactly what anyone in this situation should do, according to the people who work at the Pawmetto Lifeline. They say giving a pet as a surprise gift is a bad idea.

"We're very cautious to make sure a family is ready for the commitment of a pet," said Natasha Drozdak. "We want to make sure they've thought through that it is a 15-year commitment in some cases or even more."

There are a few reasons for that. Even though they have a full house of adoptees, the cost and commitment of food, vet care, and time, they prefer the potential owner get a chance to spend time with the pet just like Marter.

Pawmetto Lifeline staff suggests giving pet lovers another less committal/more virtual gift.

"We have an option were you can actually sponsor the life of a pet, and you can give as adoption pet package that comes with a photo of the pet you saved," said Drozdak.

But if you feel certain the person will want the cuddly responsibility, they say to let them come feel it out for themselves.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.

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