Study backs pets as holiday presents, but animal welfare holdouts remain

LOS ANGELES - Animal activists have long warned people not to give pets as holiday gifts, but a national animal welfare group says fears of pets being returned or rejected are unfounded.

A new study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals supports seasonal adoptions. It says of the people it surveyed who got their pets as a gift, 86 percent of them kept their pet. And 96 percent said the fact that they received their pet as a gift had no impact on their love or attachment.

The study was conducted in July and published in the journal "Animals" in October. Until those results, even the ASPCA advised against giving pets as gifts.

But not all shelters are convinced. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, which is not affiliated with the national organization, still discourages pets as presents.

Ana Bustilloz of the Los Angeles shelter says adopting a pet should be done with purpose and should be a decision made by the entire family.

David Haines of the Beacon Rescue Animal Shelter in Ocean View, N.J., added that new pets should be brought into an environment that's not filled with wild holiday parties.

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