DETROIT (WXYZ) — Cold and lonely is how River Rouge Animal Shelter director Patricia Trevino found four kittens in a broken crate with no top and one under a tree.
He had received a signal that someone had left them.
And sadly, Trevino and others involved in animal welfare and rescue know that a wave of unwanted kittens, puppies, cats and dogs is coming.
In January, February, and maybe even March, people will call rescues and shelters across Michigan in desperation to say they can’t afford or don’t have time for the pets they got for Christmas. Received or purchased as a gift.
Some people will say that their landlord does not allow pit-type dogs or dogs weighing more than 40 pounds. Others will say that their son or daughter no longer wants a pet that they can’t stop hugging on Christmas Day.
Truly taking responsibility for an animal requires a lot of thought and consideration, and that’s why many rescues and shelters discourage giving pets as gifts.
Judy Jones, Director Make a difference rescue In Detroit, she said she fields 10 to 15 requests a day from people wanting to surrender their dogs.
“Please, you have to make sure where those animals are going. Otherwise, they become recycled dogs,” she said, noting the fact that her shelters and shelters in the Detroit area. Houses are full of capacity and breeders are hard to come by and so is money.
Rescues like Make a Difference are always struggling to raise money to cover the cost of care, food and shelter for animals left to care for when others stop. .
Often, dogs given as gifts end up in a crate or at the end of a chain because someone is tired of the responsibility. Eventually, some will die in these conditions as their owners get on with their lives and begin to forget they even exist.
Parents should be prepared to be responsible if they want to give their child a pet for Christmas, Jones said.
“Don’t expect this baby to be able to meet the dog’s daily needs. You have to be there,” she said. “You have to supervise. You have to intervene, help with training. Young children are not equipped to do that.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that if the gift is surprising, the gift giver should be aware of the recipient’s lifestyle and schedule — enough to know that the recipient has the time and resources. Be a responsible owner.
And unwanted pets who wind up with rescues or shelters are lucky. Often, people drive to a nearby park or country road, open the door and let the animal out as if it could figure out life on its own.
Some dumped animals are hit by cars or die of exposure or starvation. Their own lives are not good or long.
“Unfortunately, for as many good people as there are, there are bad people. It’s not good luck for a dog,” Jones said.
Thankfully, the kittens that were abandoned in the River Rouge are among the lucky ones. Trevino reached them in time, and local rescuers, Shelter at homeKindly stepped in to help them.