A heartbreaking video is unwittingly the perfect example of the phrase “Pets are for life not just for Christmas,” as one shelter revealed it was already receiving unwanted puppy presents.
A clip shared to TikTok by @KhanTheeDane shows a woman cuddling a one-month-old puppy, as the on-screen text said: “We’re already getting unwanted Christmas gifts.”
The caption warned against giving animals to people who were ill-prepared to deal with the realities of owning a pet.
Animals are a long-term commitment and the bills for pet food and vets add up to thousands of dollars.
As well as money, owners need to spend lots of time with their pets, either training, socializing or exercising them. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says every year approximately 6.3 million animals enter U.S. animal shelters.
“Please be responsible,” the video caption said. “Don’t give out pets as gifts to someone who didn’t ask for one or done research on how to care for it. This bean ended up on the shelter at 1mo.”
In the comments the woman revealed she worked at The Anti-Cruelty Shelter in Chicago and shared more information about the adorable puppy.
Rachel Klousnitzer, Senior Director Marketing and Communications at The Anti-Cruelty Shelter, told Newsweek the puppy is named Winnie, and said she was too young to be adopted at this stage.
She said: “We encourage the public to not give animals as gifts without discussing it with the recipient. Gifting an animal as a surprise is a lifelong commitment that all parties need to be prepared for and educated about.
“Shelters nationwide will see animals being relinquished after the holiday season due to well-intentioned gift givers not understanding the amount of time and care an animal needs. We encourage members of the community to visit our shelter and speak with our knowledgeable staff about our animals and what they entail before adopting.”
Klousnitzer added: “I also want to note that Winnie was not adopted from ACS. While we provide counseling and resources to keep pets with their families, including home-to-home adoptions, this is an isolated incident but we are happy she was brought to us so that we can find her a forever family.”
The TikTok clip has amassed more than 950,000 views since being posted on Thursday.
In the comments, @khantheedane said: “Oddly enough the owners said it was a golden / lab / Rhodesian ridgeback mix. I see golden a lot tho.”
She said the puppy’s fate was “so sad” adding: “She has to go to foster first, too young to adopt out.”
Newsweek has reached out to @khantheedane for comment.
The ASPCA echoes the warning in the video, saying: “Americans have a long tradition of giving pets—usually puppies or kittens—as gifts for special occasions such as birthdays, holidays or graduation, but there’s debate over how this practice impacts the animal’s welfare.”
They too warn against giving an animal to someone who isn’t prepared for one, saying: “The ASPCA recommends the giving of pets as gifts only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly.”
“The recipient’s schedule should also be free enough to spend necessary time to help assure an easy transition into the home. This is especially important during the holidays and other busy times.”
The Anti-Cruelty Society is currently running a “Home for the Howlidays” promotion, where they’re waiving the adoption fee for all their pets.
It ran from November until December 31 “so that every shelter pet will start 2023 in a loving home.”
Klousnitzer told Newsweek: “The waived adoption fee promotion saw tremendous success with hundreds of animals finding their forever homes this holiday season.”
The ASPCA says prospective pet owners should acquire animals from “animal shelters, rescue organizations, friends, family or responsible breeders,” and not from places where the animal’s origin is unknown.
The comment section of the clip featuring the unwanted puppy was awash with people volunteering to adopt it.
Tawny808 wrote: “WHAT?!?! NO! I wish I were closer, I’d foster for you. Of course I would be a foster fail.”
Robbie asked: “Where is this puppy? I will be there tomorrow.”
Dexterdaisy1972 fumed: “OMG! Stop giving puppies and kittens as Christmas presents!”
Tx_mrsg thought: “I don’t think they should allow adoption during Christmas time for that reason.”
Remiem Retrievers said: “This is why I won’t place puppies as presents nor have litters over Christmas. What heartbreak…”
Copper boom added: “I will never understand how people can be this careless and cruel.”
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