BARC Reminds Everyone That Pets Don’t Make Good Holiday Presents

One item that ends up on some shoppers’ holiday gift lists is a new pet. But surprising someone with an animal is almost never a good idea.


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The people at Houston's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control love it when people rescue animals from the pound. But they say no one should adopt a pet to give someone as an unexpected gift.

"It's a major undertaking, especially if you're getting a puppy or a kitten, because they require lots of time and lots of resources. So it's always good to make absolutely sure that the person who is going to be getting that dog or cat is fully ready for all the responsibility that they need to take on," says BARC's Ashtyn Rivet.

When someone comes to adopt one of the hundreds of dogs and cats sitting in the cages at BARC, staffers ask several questions about where the pet will live and who's going to take care of it.

"If they come to us and the say ‘I'm interested in getting this pet for my family member of friend,' we say ‘we do not allow that.' But we have the option of getting a gift card so you can come back with that person after the holidays and pick exactly the right fit," Rivet said, adding that having the pet meet its new parent before the adoption is key to keeping that animal from ending up back in the pound, or worse.

In addition to the adoption fee, there are the ongoing costs related to keeping an animal – food, vaccinations, licensing, and toys – that can easily total hundreds of dollars a year.

Instead of springing a furry friend on someone, Rivet suggests giving that person everything related to caring for a pet. That way, when the recipient is ready for an animal, they'll already be set up to give it a good home.

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David Pitman

David Pitman


David was HPM’s local Morning Edition host from 2009 to 2020 -- when he was moved to the position of Technical Director of Houston Matters with Craig Cohen, and Town Square with Ernie Manouse. David has extensive public and commercial broadcast journalism and production experience dating back to 1993 –...

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