Animal shelters receive ‘gift returns’ of pets after the holidays

Updated: Jan. 1, 2020 at 4:15 PM EST
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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - A puppy or a kitten under the tree seems like a sweet, special gift for the holidays - but shelters say every year they see animals being returned days later.

Judy Sims has seen it before, year after year.

“I’m a little surprised that it started so soon,” she says. “But not surprised that it’s happening.”

Dogs and cats adopted for the holidays are brought back in the weeks after. It is just one week after December 25, and there have been six animals that were Christmas gifts, returned to Sims’ Humane Society location in Concord.

“[People say], ‘It’s not what we bargained for, we adopted before we thought about it, our kids weren’t ready for it,’” Sims explained.

It is emotional for her and her team to see the animals come back through their doors.

“We see [the animals] watching out the door,” Sims says. “We see them looking for the person that has become their person.”

But if people are not going to keep the animals they adopted, she would rather them come back to her than whatever the alternative might be.

“Their heart’s desire may be to have this puppy, and we all know how sweet and cuddly puppies and kittens are, but the reality is it hurts your heart when you know in your heart, ‘It’s just more than I can handle.’”

She is asking people not to adopt animals as gifts, and to think it through.

“Don’t make a snap judgement,” Sims says. “Do some forward thinking, do some planning, think about what’s going to happen when soccer season starts, when baseball season start, when you go back to work. Think about those things.”

The shelter is closed New Year’s Day, but returns to normal operating hours January 2.

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