Animal shelters prepare for pet surrenders following Christmas

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A local animal shelter is preparing for a wave of newcomers after the holidays, a popular time to receive a pet as a gift.

A new pet is a popular Christmas gift, but an often unwise choice as many of those animals end up in an animal shelter weeks later.

Palm Valley Animal Shelter Director of Development Rebecca Villanueva says in January of this year, more than 400 pet owners surrendered their pet following Christmas.

Now, only a few days after the holiday, the shelter has received about 20 calls from new, concerned pet owners.

“Often times, it starts off with a phone call,” Villanueva said. “Somebody will call and say, ‘I got this dog for Christmas, I got this cat for Christmas and I can’t take care of it. It’s having some behavioral issues and I’m not really sure how to care for it.’”

If you’re a new pet owner, Villanueva recommends having patience and exploring different care options before surrendering your pet to a shelter. Before adopting, it’s important to spend time with a potential pet to see if he or she is the right match for you.

“We would probably, just in the last two weeks, we’ve probably had over 100 adoptions and for the month, I’m sure we are pushing 300,” said Villanueva.

With an increase of adoptions, the shelter is prepared to provide resources and advice to new pet owners to help break the cycle.

Villanueva says if you’ve made the decision to get rid of the pet, attempt to rehome on your own and make surrendering your furry friend to a shelter as a last resort.

If you or anyone you know is a new pet owner looking for advice, you can call the PAWS Center in Edinburg at 956-720–4563.

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