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Pet for a holiday gift not a good idea, society says

December 13, 2004

The Humane Society of Washington County said this week that buying a dog or a cat for someone might seem like a thoughtful gift, but the society recommends against it.

The society said impulse buying or an animal looking "irresistible" in a store window should not be the key reasons for buying a pet, especially as a holiday gift.

Many of those "gifts" end up in animal shelters or abandoned in the months following the holidays, according to the society.

"Adopting or purchasing a pet is a serious, long-term commitment that should not be taken lightly," according to a society news release. "A pet is a living creature that cannot be discarded or forgotten simply because the novelty of having a new pet has worn off."

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The society released some of the following suggestions for making any pet purchase:

· Purchase a gift certificate to give the recipient the opportunity to pick the pet that is best for them.

· Wrap useful supplies that will be needed if and when a gift recipient chooses a pet. Items could include a dog bowl, cat collar, scratching post or leash.

· Consider adopting a pet from a local animal shelter.

· Consider adopting a pet after the hectic holiday season to make things easier on the new owner and the pet.

For more information on giving pets as holiday gifts, visit the Humane Society, 13011 Maugansville Road in Hagerstown, or by calling 301-733-2060, ext. 237.

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