For years, giving pets as gifts has been an age old debate among many within the animal welfare community, including the Arizona Humane Society (AHS). Many animal welfare organizations have shied away from giving pets as gifts due to the long-standing belief that those pets were more likely to be returned to shelters than pets who were picked out by the family who would actually be caring for them.

However, AHS is changing its way of thinking as both recent and older studies have shown that data does not support this notion. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 96 percent of individuals who received pets as gifts said it had no impact on their attachment to the pet and 86 percent of those pets are still in their homes today.

This research indicates that regardless of how a person acquires a pet, it is their interest in pet ownership and eagerness to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet and their lifestyle that will ultimately determine the success of their relationship with their new family member. Therefore, AHS will not place restrictions on giving pets as a gift, but will instead offer considerations for doing so. Those considerations include the recipient’s desire and readiness for a pet, time and resource commitments as well as which pet may fit their lifestyle best. For those who are uncertain, AHS does offer a Critter Credit Gift Card option.

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