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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Iams' Home for the Holidays Adoption program is a REALLY bad idea.

It sounds so nice and since 1999, a bazillion animals have gotten adopted thru this cosponsored program. It even made the opening bell of the Stock Exchange this week, making folks feel all warm and fuzzy. I'm betting they haven't documented the number of returns of these pets in the days following the holidays. I worry much more about the animals that aren't returned, but thrown outside, given away or just abandoned.
Ironically here in Houston on the same day as the seven dogs were posed at the Stock Exchange, the TV news had a story from a shelter, showing all the empty cages and saying "Sadly, many of these pets will be returned"
The pet industry needs to work in tandem on this issue. Pets are NOT for holidays
or birthdays. The concept of promoting pets at Christmas to deflect puppy mills
makes no sense to me, as many of the puppy mill buyers want the tiny and small dogs which are in the minority at shelters.
If Iams wants to save a really large number of pets, they should organize a "Get Your
Christmas Pet in July" promotion. The number of puppies and kittens killed in Houston Texas in the summer months is staggering, yet in December shelters run out.
Let's balance this supply/demand cycle folks! It's so much better for the animal to enter a new environment free of holiday stresses, they have enough with which to contend already. Granted, it's not quite as exciting, but the pictures of crates
full of kittens should be an exciting concept when the tide can be turned for many more of those precious faces.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW Janet! Too bad the Houston TV station didn't do their homework about holiday pet adoptions before going on the air. I see that you must approve this before it appears on your blog. I hope you're willing to share the facts.

That would be great if families got their pets in July instead of Christmas. But HSUS statistics show that they don't. More families get new pets during the holiday season than at any time of year. And if Mom and Dad have been telling the kids that they're getting a puppy for Christmas... and the shelter or rescue turns them away...we might as well draw them a map so they can save gas on their way to the pet store in the mall. They're not going to change just because we want them to. So let's help them make the best decision possible. Let's help them find a pet that fits their family and home and lifestyle. (The people at the mall want to make a profit. The shelters want to make a match. Period!)

As for all those pets that the Houston TV station claims will be returned....Why? If the shelter is doing their job correctly and screening potential adopters they won't have any more returns than they do at any other time of year. On the other hand, if they're only goal is to "sell puppies" so they can give the staff time off for Christmas, then they will have lots of returns.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays shelters report a return rate of about 2%. That's about the same as any other month of the year. And, for shelters that euthanize due to overcrowding, wouldn't they rather take a 2% chance that a pet will be returned (during a time when they have space available) than to euthanize the pets? If not, it's way past time to get out of the industry. I hear that 7-11 is hiring.

One more thing. (You may have already read this.) In a survey of 100 veterinarians across the United States not a single one of them reported the death or injury of a new pet because it was adopted at Christmas.

We're not going to change human nature...but we can help families make the best decision possible. And we can save the lives of these orphaned pets.

Thanks Janet! You're obviously one of the "good guys" who really cares about animals. Glad we're on the same side.

John (and Howie...adopted 12/4/99 during the first Home 4 the Holidays drive)