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Why Animals Do Not Make Good Gifts

Animals are not toys. They are sentient beings who, like us, require love and proper care to flourish. Although people who give animals as gifts invariably have good intentions, it is unfair to give an animal to anyone unless you are absolutely certain that the person wants that particular animal as a companion and is willing and able to give a lifetime of proper care.

Children Can Be Cruel
Intentionally or not, sometimes children are cruel to animals. Puppies, kittens, bunnies, chicks, baby ducks, and other young animals are especially vulnerable. Small children may unintentionally torment and/or harm animals, even breaking their fragile bones or causing other fatal injuries.

Adoration may turn to indifference or even hostility when a child loses interest in an animal, who may then go without necessary care. The child’s parents or the adult who gave the child the animal may become impatient and try to “solve” the problem by turning the animal over to a shelter or a pound or—worse—passing the animal on to a series of homes, causing trauma, psychological scarring, and behavioral problems.

Think Before Giving
Adding an animal companion to the family is an important decision. Adopting an animal means making a permanent commitment to care for and spend time with the animal and to provide for him or her in case of one’s absence for the entire life of the animal. Before adopting, consider the time and money involved in proper animal care. Will someone have the time and patience to exercise and housebreak the animal? Is someone prepared to pay for food, accessories (such as toys, grooming supplies, leashes and harnesses, and bedding), inoculations, and veterinary care, including spaying or neutering, flea treatment, worming, and emergency care?

If a family decides to adopt an animal, every member of the family should go to the local shelter together to choose the animal, having already discussed the obligations and long-term commitments involved. It is also necessary to be aware of local, state, and federal regulations that govern animal “ownership.” Most communities require annual licensing for dogs and cats, and many require that animals be on the custodian’s property at all times and that they be spayed or neutered.

Too Few Happy Endings
Animal shelters are filled beyond capacity with homeless animals. Many of these are former “pets” who were easily acquired but, for one reason or another, didn’t fit into someone’s lifestyle. Whether they are dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, chicks, ducks, or goldfish, some people regard them as expendable. Unwanted animals are often passed from home to irresponsible home as the novelty of having an animal wears thin at each successive place. Many people experience little or no guilt when turning an animal over to an overburdened humane society or animal-control agency that is likely filled to capacity with other abandoned animals. Many animals are simply abandoned on the road or in the yard when the family moves away. Dogs who were dumped at Badlands National Park were trapped in steel-jaw leghold traps set by park rangers; most had to be euthanized, and the lone survivor’s leg had to be amputated.(1)

What You Can Do
Don’t ever give an animal as a gift! If you have discussed the idea with the prospective recipients and know that they have the time, willingness, ability, and resources to properly care for an animal and make that serious commitment, consider offering them a gift certificate from the local animal shelter.

If you attend a fair, flea market, or other event at which animals are being given away, educate those who are responsible. If people are offering free kittens or puppies, for example, explain the risks of giving animals to unknown passersby—some people sell dogs and cats to laboratories or dealers, and others abuse, neglect, or abandon them.
If a business is giving away animals as a promotion, complain to sponsors, explaining what can happen to animals who are not taken by caring, capable people. Get sponsors to save lives by giving away stuffed toy animals instead.

In 2004, legislation was introduced in the U.K. that, if passed, will make it illegal to give fish as “prizes” or sell animals to children under the age of 16 and will also ensure that guardians provide a “suitable environment” for animals.(2) In Italy, animal-welfare laws dictate fines and jail sentences for many crimes against animals, including dumping.(3) In the U.S., existing laws provide woefully inadequate protection for animals. Contact local, county, and state officials about introducing and passing more substantive animal-protection laws (see HelpingAnimals.com for more information), and get involved with animal rights and welfare groups that can provide educational materials and help stop public animal giveaways.

http://www.helpinganimals.com/factsheet/files/FactsheetDisplay.asp?ID=35
 

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Thank you for posting this.I did get some animals for christmas [a cockatiel,another hermit crab,2 frogs& guppies] ALL of which I wanted ;)
But those who just buy animals,thinking that the reciever will care for it,really should have their head examined!
Same thing like when people buy bunnies for Easter.I feel so sorry for those animals.Most end up neglected. :worry:
 

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My 11 y.o. cousin put a chicken on her Christmas list - I was SO glad no one bought it for her! What the heck is she going to do with a chicken!?

Of course - if someone wanted to give me the $$$ for my next dane for Christmas, I sure wouldn't complain!
 

· Will It Ever Change?
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thanks for this. it seems it's not said enough. i got the honour of experiencing it firsthand. my bf's father and sister decided one day out of the blue, while i'm out buying petfood, that they would get his other brother a hamster because "he used to have one". now, i know i should have said something, but they went from deciding to having one picked out in 5 seconds it felt. so, off we go with a hamster for this kid (who's really self involved). of course, we get home, and he puts it in the basement with me, not like, near HIM since it's HIS. he tells me it's evil and bites, i say well they don't come bre tamed all the time. well, whatever, it's his, i keep my mouth shut. well, THEN november comes around and we go to his folk's house to visit, and there's the hamster cage in his room, BUT he hasnt' cleaned it in at least 2 months he said. AND the watter bottle was dry, not empty, DRY. so i give him an evil look and go fill the water. poor hamster downed half the bottle at once. i told him this is stupid, and i just took it home. like, what a snot, just open your mouth and say you don't want it, dont just keep it and hope it dies.
 

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First off, I don't believe that most animals are sentient. A minor point in this debate, but one that makes a big difference in other discussions.

Secondly, I believe that most of your arguments are based upon large generalizations. Most of which do not apply to the folks here on the board. Essentially here, you are "preaching to the choir".

In some situations, animals can be a totally appropriate gift.

I've always considered that giving me a scorpion or spider of some kind to be a thoughtful and meaningul present.

bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Bob

Giving an animal away to some is not the concern and can be a good thing on the surface. Any owner receiving an animal must be pre-warning so as to be prepared to take the animal through an arrangement of some kind.
Giving an animal as a surprise gift puts the animals at a disadvantage many times over.
 

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If you are wanting to give/get an animal for Christmas, it should be a thought out plan. Not just something "on the whim".

Like getting an animal for a young kid. Parents need to remember, that they will be the one ultimatly responsible for they pets care. I think that kids get too bored easily to give them pets as a gift though.
 

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Likewise for me.Giving me a pet (providing it's not another dog as I'm quite happy just having two at the moment ;) ) is usually a thoughtful gift.I was thrilled to get fish,frogs,another crab & the tiel was totally unexpected (but really welcomed! I fell in love with tiels when I saw my aunts!).
But say,to give someone like my brother an animal,he would feel awful& hand it off to me.He wouldn't want things to suffer but he don't have that interest.

So have to be careful when getting an animal,consider the person recieving it.
 

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Mygala said:
.... I believe that most of your arguments are based upon large generalizations. Most of which do not apply to the folks here on the board. Essentially here, you are "preaching to the choir".

In some situations, animals can be a totally appropriate gift...
My thoughts exactly :)!


My dog Leo was my birthday present .... I begged my husband for 6 years for a little dog and did years of researching the perfect breed for our family ..... It was a COMPLETE SURPRISE when he told me I could get him. While the timing wasn't perfect (puppy in winter= not much fun) I am completely happy and pleased with Leo and would never consider getting rid of him.

Any parent who buys their kid a pet and actually expects them to 100% take care of it, belongs in the loony bin anyway. My daughter will be getting a dog for her 10th birthday (she is 4 right now)... this will be after she does research and a report on which breed is right for her and why. She will probably take care of it for the most part, but I will be overseeing her to make sure it is being properly cared for.. Leaving a child 100% responsible for an animal is crazy and dangerous. I would never consider taking any animal I have to a shelter or even consider getting rid of it because I either bought it or adopted it, so I am responsible for it... any parent that buys their kid a pet should understand that they will end up taking care of it.

I would NEVER buy someone who doesn't live with me an animal as a gift, and I am VERY against buying animals from petstores (other than fish)... the best place to find a pet is through a rescue that requires an application and a home visit or a reputable breeder who is breeding to better the breed not to make $.
 

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All I have to say on this matter is that I have two dumped unwanted Easter bunnies at home who speak for themselves.
 

· RAT ADDICT
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I think it depends.As others mentioned,you HAVE TO KNOW if the person is responsible and actually wants the animal or is capable of caring for it.And of course don't go out and get a 5 yr old a pet as a gift and expect them to take care of it.

A pet store here,Petcetera refuses to sell bunnies at Easter.I am happy to hear that,because in most cases the bunnies end up in shelters,back at the store,passed on to someone else or set free in the wild.

If someone got me an animal,I would take the best care of it.I would not dump it and/or neglect it.However I honestly would not want to be suprised with an animal,just in case I didn't have the nessicary supplies.But if someone did,like I said,I would keep it and run out and get all the nessicary supplies if I had to.

Last Christmas we (mom and me) got a hamster for my sister,Amanda.She is 19 and actually kept talking about getting a hamster AFTER Christmas.This was last year.Anyway so it was a suprise to her,but we got her the supplies too...food,toys and shavings.She happened to have a cage,because she was planning on getting one anyway.Well she was really happy with him and his name is Button.She still has him to this day and he is a greyt little hammie,very friendly.

So it depends,if you KNOW that the person wants the animal and will take care of it,then it is okay.Otherwise I don't agree with giving animals as gifts and definatly NOT for children.
 

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I have to agree with many of the previous posters. I think that for some people a pet can be a suitable gift, but only if you know they want it and will care for it correctly.

Personally, I don't think I'd want a pet as a gift, unless I knew beforehand that's what I was getting so I'd have everything ready and I got to choose the specific animal myself or meet it before it was final.

We did this with my mom for her birthday once. She'd been wanting another cat for about six months and my dad kept saying no as we already had three. Well, my brother and I finally got him to agree so we told her, she was thrilled, so we went to the shelter and let her pick the cat herself. That particular gift couldn't have worked out any better.

I think of someone really wanted to surprise me with something pet related supplies for the ones I already have would go over much better than an actual animal.
 

· I'm not weird, I'm gifted
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I would never give anybody a pet as a gift, unless the person would know he or she would get a pet.
Once I got a chinchilla for christmas. But my parents had not bought here yet, I had to go out with them, and buy here.
I've also sold a chin as a present once, but the one who resived the chin, came and picked him up, with the friends she got him form.

If some one just contacted me, to get at pet, and the new pet owner didn't know anything about it, I would never sell
 
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