Christmas: why getting a pet is a (very) bad idea

SPA and 30 million friends condemn the practice of offering animals for Christmas. (© Evgenia Tiplyashina / Adobe Stock)

“Okay, the parents are happy and the little one is in heaven”, but no, “the animal at the foot of the tree, that’s not a good idea”. It is a gift that comes up every year according to SPA and the 30 Million Friends Foundation: the dog, the cat or even the hamster is present among the other packages offered for Christmas.

Except that it is offering an animal on a whim without consulting the person who will receive it anything but a good idea. Worse, it leads to dropouts every year.

Before you adopt your future companion, a whole process must be followed so that this happens under the best conditions.

“It’s not a consumer product”

A toy, a book and a little cat… This is sometimes the picture at the foot of the tree on Christmas Day. “An animal is a living being, it doesn’t really belong with the other packs,” says Reha Hutin, president of the 30 Million Friends Foundation, to

It is not a consumer product.

Reha HutinChairman of the 30 Million Friends Foundation

Above all, regardless of the animal, this represents limitations from the first day: “There will quickly be a problem to take the animal out”, notes Jacques-Charles Fombonne, president of the SPA.

“A dog, for example, is difficult, there are limitations, and it has a cost”, he lists. A bad idea on paper, unless the whole family has agreed, upstream, to adopt the animal.

How to adopt well?

Because before you welcome a companion, you have to think (well) carefully. And there are several factors to consider, according to Reha Hutin.

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“A dog that will live an average of 13 years will cost 1,000 euros a year, people don’t necessarily realize that,” she explains. Between food and the vet, especially as dogs get older, this represents a budget to keep in mind.

If the parents have given the animal to a child, they must realize that they will have to take it out themselves, because the child cannot take care of it.

Reha HutinChairman of the 30 Million Friends Foundation

“Don’t hesitate to go to a vet or a shelter,” says Jacques-Charles Fombonne, president of SPA. “They will advise you, match the wishes of people and the needs of animals. »

If you live in a 30 m² apartment and you are not at home much, we will not give you a Malinois.

Jacques-Charles Fombonnechairman of SPA

Better to adopt

Reha Hutin and Jacques-Charles Fombonne agree that adopting from a shelter is better than going to a pet store, or worse, to an Internet classified ad. Already because the members of the shelter will monitor all elements to be sure that the animal is suitable for your situation. Also, “adopting in a shelter means freeing up a place to save another dog”, notes the president of the SPA. “It’s the best gift for an animal,” said Reha Hutin. Finally, “on the Internet you can come across secret farms with dogs that have problems, that have not been fed or even beaten,” explains Jacques-Charles Fombonne.

A connection between gift and abandonment?

While in 2021 SPA received 46,000 animals in its 63 centers in France, the question of the connection between Christmas gift and abandonment, especially in summer, inevitably arises.

“We have a lot of dropouts six months later, in June/July,” observes Jacques-Charles Fombonne. “We are aware of the congestion that this can represent and the cost of a dog pension for the summer. However, it is difficult to establish a connection between the two phenomena. »

But sometimes it goes very quickly, “from the first pee on the carpet”, assures Reha Hutin from the 30 million friends fund. “The owner gets mad and the dog is thrown away. “For her, the observation is clear: the abandonment of animals is most often linked to the same reason: “an acquisition that is not considered. »

The situation would even be all the more terrible for small animals such as hamsters, who, according to her, would be thrown out more easily, e.g. on the toilet. “They have no respect for life. »

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