Unfortunately this phenomenon isn't just happening in Lowndes County. Pets given as holiday presents are showing up at shelters across the country. "It's certainly something that we do experience," Rob Halpin, director of public relations at Boston's MSPCA, told The Dodo. "There's especially a risk of it happening when the recipient doesn't know they're getting an animal."
"The puppy that was 8 weeks old around Christmas is now at that teenage stage," Dana Rocco, shelter manager at the New Rochelle Humane Society in New York told The Dodo, "and it may be more than what people were expecting."
When animals are offered as gifts to unsuspecting family members, there's no time to meet the new puppy or kitten to make sure personalities match up, or to discuss who in the family will take on responsibility for walking and feeding. "It's like arranging a blind date for somebody," Rocco explained, "If someone is coming in wanting to adopt for someone else, we won't do an adoption."