When Mandy Tregeagle, owner of a pet store in Adelaide, Australia, announced that she wouldn’t sell puppies until after Christmas, she didn’t anticipate the response.
Her Facebook post, which stated that The Pet Spot had stopped sales to protect animals from impulse buys, garnered more than 20,000 likes and 800 comments.
"Selling puppies at Christmas we believe encourages impulse buying and contributes to many animals being dumped afterwards, so to all followers who genuinely want the wonderful addition of a pet for Xmas, please contact the numerous rescue groups who I am sure will be pleased to help you find your pet,” Tregeagle wrote.
The storeowner’s decision was fueled by concerns that people will adopt animals only to realize they’re not ready for the responsibility involved in owning a pet.
Teagle says her store is offered up to 8,000 kittens a year and 1,000 puppies from “accidental births.” However, at this time of year, The Pet Stop gets 20 phone calls a day from people looking to buy puppies as Christmas gifts.
Jennifer Salter, media and campaigns manager for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Australia, says her organization has been inundated with unwanted cats, dogs and rabbits.
Salter urges people interested in adopting a pet to take one from a shelter instead of buying from a pet store. However, she cautions against giving animals as gifts.
“Before making this decision, it's vital that people realize animals, such as cats, can live up to 20 years and require a solid commitment. That's why pets should never be given as presents," she told news.com.au.
In September, the RSPCA reported that about one in three of the dogs (19,583 out of 67,573) that end up at Australia’s RSPCA shelters are put in down. More than half of the kittens are euthanized (37,177 out of 64,617).
Although there is no central data-reporting agency for animal shelters in the U.S., The Humane Society estimates that animal shelters care for 6-8 million cats and dogs each year, of which 3-4 million are euthanized.