PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If you are thinking of giving a pet as holiday gift this year, animal shelters are asking you to adopt, not shop, among other things.
Checking animal shelters for available dogs, cats or even other critters up for adoption rather than buying them at a pet shop or breeder is what humane organizations have been urging the public to do for years.
"There are still people who unfortunately who don't think about a shelter first when they think about getting an animal," said Pennsylvania SPCA spokesperson Gillian Kocher.
"We can speak from our own experience that these animals are just as good if not better than a breeder dog that you might get. They have so much personality. Some have already been in homes so they have some of the things down already like house training or their manners, and we know them so well that we can make matches with the right families," she said.
"What we find with families is if they come into a shelter environment and meet the animals that we have here, they're going to fall in love."
Because of COVID-19, adoptions are being conducted by appointment only.
Officials say making sure everyone in the household is on board with the new addition is important. No one wants to see that animal back in a shelter. 6-8 million cats and dogs enter the shelter system in the U.S. annually, with 3 million of them euthanized. The PSPCA, however, is a no-kill shelter.
"Sometimes a person surprised with a puppy as a holiday gift may not be up for the commitment of caring for one. The pup could end in a shelter," said Kocher.
If you aren't ready for a pet and want to donate to a shelter helping to save animal's lives, such as the PSPCA, donations are welcomed.