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      Unwanted holiday pets returned to shelter, Humane Society

      Animal shelters across the country are seeing an intake increase as people are returning gifted pets.

      Since Christmas, the Amarillo Panhandle Humane Society has had seven pets returned to it.

      "People didn't think through the fit with another animal or family member," Humane Society Executive Director Andrea Soliz said. "Or, as you stated, maybe they've given it out as a gift and didn't take into consideration whether or not the people rent or own, whether or not they can afford an animal."

      Amarillo Animal Control, however, does not see its holiday pets returned right away.

      "Traditionally, we'll get our intake increase four or five, maybe even six months after the holidays once the puppy or the little kitten begins to grow and mature," Animal Control Executive Director Mike McGee stated.

      The Humane Society and Animal Control adopt many animals out to new homes every week. But the employees of both still hate to see adopted animals brought back.

      "The puppy's forever," McGee said. "It's not just 'I have a puppy for a few weeks or a few months,' and then it's no more. You take a responsibility once you adopt or purchase an animal and that's going to be for the animal's life, to care for it as responsibly as you can."

      Both McGee and Soliz urge prospective adopters to do research on the animals before they take them home. Knowing the specific needs of the breed, such as health problems, grooming needs and exercise routines can help adopters know which animal will be best for them.

      They also recommend people who will be receiving the pets as gifts know what is coming before the animal is adopted.