Choosing the perfect Christmas gift can be a challenging task but choosing the perfect pet to place under the tree can be even harder, which is why many shelters become more concerned with pet adoptions around this time of year in fear that pets would be returned.
They're cute, they're fuzzy, and around this time of the year many of them find themselves as gifts under a Christmas tree.
But for volunteer operated animal rescue shelters like Beacon Rescue Shelter in Upper Township, the concept of giving pets as Christmas presents is a major concern.
"Around Christmas time we are really very careful with our adoptions the closer we get to Christmas," said Beacon Rescue Animal Shelter manager David Haines. "We really discourage adoptions the idea of putting a dog under a Christmas tree is not a good idea; it's just too much going on at Christmas."
According to shelter manager David Haines, newly adopted animals need a quiet environment and time to become accustom to their new owners and home; everything that Christmas is not, which is one of many reasons why some shelters are against adoptions around the holiday season.
"Mainly because statistics have shown that nearly 90% of those dogs are coming back to the shelters because they took them as a Christmas gift and it just didn't work out the dog or the cat just didn't have the right environment, in which to get settled in," expressed Haines.
Shelters like Beacon tend scrutinize potential adopters more during the holiday season to make sure the animals are placed in the perfect home.
But not all placements are perfect, which is one problem this no kill animal shelter struggles with when animals are returned.
"If it's one of our dogs we take it we make room for it," Haines said. "So we will do whatever we have to do to take that animal back to keep it."
And as Christmas draws near, shelters encourage people to be sure the animal they adopt is the right fit because returned animals not only put a strain on shelters, but they can cause damage to the animals themselves.
"It could have an impact on them and the way that they socialized but we try to overcome that when they do return by making them very social and by giving them the attention that they need," Haines expressed.
Beacon Rescue Animal Shelter has successfully placed more than 170 animals this year with another 27 more adoptions pending.