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ASCPA study suggests that giving pets as holiday gifts is fine

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The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA) has released results of a research study that it says busts a major myth about giving pets as holiday gifts.

A random telephone survey with 1,000 repsonses - including some from Colorado - counters a long-held belief by many in the animal world that shelters should not allow adoptions by those looking to give the pet as a gift during the holidays or otherwise. Their concern has been that the pet would be at a higher risk of being returned to the shelter.

The ASPCA found that 96 percent of people who received pets as gifts thought it either increased or had no impact on their love or attachment to that pet. Additionally, 86 percent of the pets referred to in the study are still in the home.

The survey revealed no difference in the recipient’s attachment to that pet based on whether the gift was a surprise or known in advance.

This new data adds to previous research studies conducted in the 1990s and 2000 that found that pets acquired as gifts are less likely to be relinquished than pets acquired by an individual adopter, said Weiss.

"This has been a very controversial topic for the public and the sheltering world alike, but we're hoping to put an end to this misconception before the holiday season,” Weiss said in a press release.

"Myths tend to persist once they take hold. People are often blind to data," she said in a follow-up interview with Examiner.com.

Weiss said its hard to pin down just how the notion took root in the first place, adding that she's hoping for an outcome resulting in more homeless animals finding homes.

Weiss is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist

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