SPCA bracing for annual influx of unwanted Christmas gift pets

It's January and that means Montreal area animal shelters are preparing for the annual post-holiday spike in pet abandonments.

“We are expecting it to last for months after the holidays,” said Anita Kapuscinska, spokesperson for SPCA Montreal.

The animal rights organization warned people before the holiday season that gifting someone a puppy or a kitten isn't always a great idea.

“Adopting an animal is a huge decision, a huge responsibility, and represents a long term commitment,” she said.

But, as has been the case, year after year, Kapuscinska says many Montrealers did not heed the warnings, and Christmas gift pets are beginning to trickle into the shelters.

She says pets can make a great gift; but, the recipient should be involved in the process.

“Instead of imposing a particular animal on them, why not prepare a gift basket with animal accessories," she said. "Make them a card and tell them that we’re going to go to a shelter together."

Abandonments are not just hard on the pets, she said, but on the people who have to give them up, as well.