The Ottawa Humane Society is encouraging adoptions over the holidays, saying time off can be a good time for families to connect with new pets.

Natalie Pona spokesperson Ottawa Humane Society OHS

Natalie Pona, the Ottawa Humane Society's spokesperson, says the society no longer restricts adoptions over the holidays. (CBC)

The humane society used to restrict adoptions over the holidays, arguing that pets don't make good holiday gifts because they often get returned.

They feared people weren't thinking about the long-term commitment involved with owning pets.

This year, the humane society is preparing 10 elves to deliver pets on Christmas morning. It says time off over the holidays is a good time for families to connect and bond with pets.

"I think that was a misconception before. And maybe also, families have changed in a lot of ways, too," said Ottawa Humane Society spokesperson Natalie Pona. "... It's a good time — as long as you're prepared for the commitment of owning a pet — to bring an animal home."

Some vets disagree, arguing that money can be tight around the holidays. Neutering or spaying a medium-sized dog can cost between $300 and $500. Pet insurance can run up to $100 per month, and if you don't have insurance, any surgeries could cost up to $3,000 dollars.

Sylina Wright Ottawa Humane Society OHS pets holidays adoption

Sylina Wright says adoptions over the holidays are a good idea. (CBC)

Some animal lovers say adoption can wait.

"You might want to do it another time when there's not so much pressure around the house, to take a little bit more time to think about what you're getting into before you do it," David Kerlovich said.

Sylina Wright disagrees.

"I would really like it if I had a present underneath the tree and it was an animal," said Sylina Wright. "After Christmas, after you got the pet, you would start doing more with it. I think after Christmas you would understand what it liked more.

"I think it's good. ... Some tips would be, let it out a lot of times a day. You need to know what it does, and walk it a lot after you get it."

Poll question