UTAH

Utah Humane Society advises communication if gifting pets during holidays

Nov 17, 2022, 2:00 PM | Updated: 3:13 pm
Leia the puppy waits for her forever home...
Leia, a puppy looking for a forever home, lounges in her kennel at the Utah Humane Society in Murray, Utah, Nov. 17, 2022. (Alejandro Lucero, KSL NewsRadio)
(Alejandro Lucero, KSL NewsRadio)

MURRAY, Utah — In animal shelters across the state and nation dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs all wait for a special connection that will give them a forever home. Sometimes, the animal is given as a gift.

Guinnevere Schuster, the director of marketing communications at the Utah Humane Society, said giving a pet as a gift is not a bad idea. But she also said that communication and preparation are important first steps.

She said the first thing to do is have an open conversation to ensure the family or person even wants a pet.

“Have they expressed interest in getting a pet? Is this something they’ve been, talking about?” said Schuster.

If the answer is yes, move forward and talk about step two – preparation.

Schuster said if they are open to owning a pet, find out what pet they are the best equipped to handle. 

“Maybe they’re not prepared for a puppy,” said Schuster. “But maybe they have time to care for a dog that’s already house-trained and doesn’t need ample hours a day of attention like a puppy does.”

Importantly, Schuster said they encourage people to adopt a new furry family member, especially as the number of animals in shelters increases. 

Why the increase in animal shelters?

Temma Martin, public relations with The Best Friends Animal Society, said 2022 has been a tough year for shelters. She continued that their shelters across the nation have been seeing increases in animal intakes, but the amount adopted is not keeping pace.  

As of Nov. 15, Schuster said they were at 110% capacity for dogs and around 90% for cats. Additionally, these numbers are mirrored across the state she said. And smaller shelters are looking for relief through transfers. 

“We’ve been getting just nonstop requests asking for help bringing animals,” said Schuster. “A lot of these shelters (are) in like rural areas of Utah, where they just don’t have the amount of adopters that we do in the big city.”

So why are these shelters seeing an increase? Schuster said it’s a combination of three things – inflation, COVID-19, and housing insecurity.

Schuster notes the number of pure-bred adolescent dogs they have seen post-COVID has increased. As the puppies that were purchased during the pandemic mature, some of them lack socialization skills and proper training. Thus leading to owners surrendering them to shelters, Schuster said.

And Americans everywhere are feeling a pinch in their budgets, an obstacle that is not lost to Schuster. 

“Just the typical cost of gas, food, everything has gone up, and families are probably concentrating a little bit more about taking care of themselves and not thinking about adding new animals, to their families,” said Schuster.

“That’s why we’re really encouraging people to adopt from us. All of our animals come spayed, neutered, and microchipped. And they have age-appropriate vaccinations, so that cost is being covered.”

Interested in adopting from animal shelters?

Anyone interested in adopting from the Utah Humane Society can go to their website and see which animals are available and what the next steps are. They are also waiving their adoption fee until Nov. 18.

The Best Friends Animal Society is getting into the holiday spirit by also waiving their adoption fee until Dec. 31. This is in partnership with Embrace Pet Insurance, in an effort to end the euthanization of cats and dogs in shelters by 2025. 

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Utah Humane Society advises communication if gifting pets during holidays