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Shelters caution impulsive pet adoptions
Local pet experts warn that families should exercise caution in giving a pet as a Christmas gift. Everyone in the family should be prepared for the commitment required by pet ownership, because sometimes adopted animals get returned to the shelter from which they were adopted, like this 2-year-old dog at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.

Families speak


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Animal shelters

Hall County Animal Shelter
1688 Barber Road

Humane Society of Northeast Georgia
845 West Ridge Road

Humane League of Lake Lanier

Found out Fido is right for your family? There’s no better way to say “Welcome!” than with some tasty homemade treats.

As Christmas approaches, local shelters and rescue groups hope families will consider adopting a pet.

However, a dog or cat should not be given as a surprise, said Rick Aiken, president of the Northeast Georgia Humane Society.

“One thing we encourage is not getting pets as gifts. It really is best if the person picks out their own pet,” Aiken said.

Aiken said the Humane Society sells gift certificates that offer a physical gift on Christmas morning, but allow a person to get the perfect dog or cat for them at a later date.

“We’re all partial to different kinds of breeds,” Aiken said. “I’m partial to great big ol’ dogs and some people are partial to the little, small dogs.”

While the Humane Society’s ultimate goal is to get pets adopted, they want to make sure that the animals go to good homes.

“Unfortunately people will bring an animal back that was a gift,” Aiken said. “We want you to have that pet forever. We would rather not have one adopted, then six months later they’re bringing it back here ... it’s extremely traumatic on pets.”

The Humane League of Lake Lanier is offering a way for families to give a pet to their children on Christmas without the hassle of trying to hide it.

The rescue group is offering to deliver the pet to your home on Christmas day if it is adopted before Dec. 23.

“It’s geared toward families that want to introduce pets into their homes and surprise the kids,” said Bill Mulrooney, a volunteer with the Humane League of Lake Lanier.

Mulrooney said all the activity of the holiday can be overwhelming to an animal in a new environment.

“You can give the kids food bowls and toys and that kind of stuff and get them prepared for the dog to show up,” Mulrooney said.

“When all the chaos is done and everybody settles down, then the animal’s there and it’s a nice, smooth transition.”

Mulrooney said December is a busy month for adoptions and can be a good time to bring home an animal because people typically have time off.

Like the Humane Society, Mulrooney warns against surprising an adult with a dog or cat.

“We don’t allow presents to adults,” Mulrooney said. “You’re handing somebody a 15-year commitment.”

The Hall County Animal Shelter is also hoping to get animals into good homes this holiday season.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted to waive the $65 adoption fee for the month of December to encourage people to visit the new shelter and look for a pet.

Ledford said a rigorous screening process is still in place to ensure that all people interested are willing and able to care for it.

“With things the way they are, we wanted to give (people) the chance to have that present for their kids, but at the same time give (the pets) a safe and loving family,” Ledford said.