For Immediate Release - December 14, 2012

State Agricultural Officials Urge Caution When Choosing Pets As Presents

BOSTON – Friday, December 14, 2012 – During this holiday season, officials from the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) encourage people to think twice before giving a pet as gift.  Acquiring a pet is a serious decision that should only be made after careful consideration of the time and financial resources needed to adequately provide for an animal.

“Although these gifts may be given with the best intentions, pets require a lifetime commitment – perhaps something the gift giver didn’t intend to impose on the recipient,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “Should obtaining a new pet be a part of your holiday plans this year, we urge you to acquire a healthy animal from an approved source.”

Winding up with a sick puppy or kitten can cost thousands of dollars in veterinary care, and be a heartbreaking experience. Thorough research will ensure you find a healthy animal that has a personality best suited for your family and their lifestyle.  Remember, finding the right animal can take some time; being patient will ensure a bond that will last a lifetime.

Rescuing an animal from a shelter can be a great way to acquire your new pet, while providing a loving home to an animal in need. DAR would like to remind Massachusetts residents that pet adoptions should only be done through a registered animal rescue organization .

If you feel that someone special to you may like a new pet, the volunteer experience can help them prepare for the responsibility of being a pet owner, while also providing an excellent opportunity to interact with a number of animals. Many animal shelters welcome volunteers with open arms to complete tasks such as:

  • Dog Walking
  • Bathing Animals
  • Cleaning Cages
  • Providing Foster Care for Animals

The volunteering experience can also make the decision of what type of pet best fits their personality and their home much easier.  If volunteering is not an option, consider donating to an animal shelter in the gift recipient’s name.  There are many ways that you can help the pet population during the holiday season and DAR officials encourage you to do it responsibly.

DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow us at www.twitter.com/MDARCommish and www.twitter.com/MassGrown