Organization speaks out to possible pet owners

Organization warns community ahead of Christmas
Published: Dec. 11, 2022 at 8:45 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Pets are a popular gift during the holiday season, but many shelters see the pets come back after the gifts are unwrapped.

The Northeast Arkansas Humane Society said that about 2 out of 10 pets are brought back to the shelter when they are adopted during the holidays.

Hillary Starnes, NEA Humane Society director, said that many times people are not prepared for the responsibility of a pet whether it be financially or personally. Sometimes, the person receiving the pet isn’t even asked if it’s ok to get a pet.

Returning a pet back to a shelter can have emotional effects on the animal.

“Making them go in and out even when you move, is not good on them. So, bringing them back to a shelter where there are 60 barking dogs, when they thought they had a good home and they’re used to that quiet, it stresses them out,” she said.

Starnes said seeing a pet returned to a shelter can also take an emotional toll on the staff as well.

“It upsets us, but we know that we’re here and we’re going to readjust them and get them back into a loving home,” she said. “But we kind of feel like we failed them if we see them come back and so it puts a lot of pressure on us when we choose adopters for these animals.”

Starnes said the shelter makes its best effort to pair a pet with its owner, hoping the pet will find a forever home.

“We kind of judge the owner’s character and the pet’s character. We spend a lot of time with these animals, so we know their characteristics,” she said.

Starnes said the shelter also tries to educate those who are ready to adopt so that they don’t see the pet come back to the shelter.

“If you’re going to adopt, just be prepared because it is a lifelong commitment. They live anywhere from 10 to 14 years. They’re nothing to be just thrown away. They have feelings too. They love you unconditionally and we want you to love them unconditionally as well,” said Starnes.