Giving pets for Christmas not always the best idea

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - A cute puppy or kitten might sound like a great gift idea, but what happens when they grow up? Kathy McCarty spoke with the manager of the Central Aroostook Humane Society who says there's much to consider before gifting a pet this holiday season.

They are cute and cuddly and it may be tempting to give a new pet as a gift, but Betsy Hallett, manager of the animal shelter, says she and her staff try to discourage people from doing that. She says getting a new pet is a very important, multiple year-long commitment that should never be taken lightly. She says there are several factors, including expenses like vet bills and food that need to be factored into the decision.

"Animals are very costly. In the end, we do get a lot back in because, you know, either it didn't work out for whatever reason, or it just becomes too expensive, too costly. If they're not spayed or neutered, you have to pay to get them fixed."

And finances aren't the only consideration.

"Somebody may pick out something that really isn't the color you want, it's not the breed you want, you know, things like that. And if you're getting them for your child, wait until a time when there's not so much excitement about toys. Do it when you can take that time - you can pick them, you can find something that's gonna work well for everybody."

Being adopted and then returned to the shelter confuses animals and causes them stress. Hallett suggests giving a shelter gift certificate, so the recipient can pick a less stressful time to adopt a fur baby. Whenever you take on the challenge of adding a new family member to your home, she says it's best to make sure you're ready to make a commitment to a new pet.