British Columbia

B.C. SPCA's #1 gift-giving tip: don't give a surprise pet

Every January animal shelters see a wave of unwanted pets dropped off, the result of gift giving gone wrong.

'It’s never a great idea to just present an animal to someone who may not be ready for that'

A new pet may seem like a great present, but if the recipient isn't expecting one, it might go right back to the shelter. (CBC)

Every January animal shelters see a wave of unwanted pets dropped off, B.C. SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk says — the result of gift giving gone wrong.

Chortyk says for that reason, animals should never be gifted during the holidays.

"It's a huge responsibility and it's never a great idea to just present an animal to someone who may not be ready for that responsibility," Chortyk told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

About the only exception to that rule she can think of is parents surprising their kids with a new pet, "Because then it's the parents taking on that responsibility."

The SPCA's Lorie Chortyk says the only time giving an animal as a present might work out is when parents surprise their own kids, 'Because then it's the parents taking on that responsibility.' (Kirk Williams/CBC)

Of course, the SPCA encourages adoption rather than shopping for new pets. Chortyk says some pet stores source from puppy mills and buying from them encourages a cycle of abuse. If you must buy a particular breed, she says to find a reputable breeder.

Chortyk says if you're looking for a gift for an animal lover, you don't have to actually buy them an animal.

You can make donations in their name to a wildlife rehabilitation centre or directly sponsor an animal or even donate to a human society or shelter organization.

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West


To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: B.C. SPCA's #1 gift-giving tip: don't give a surprise pet

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