GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Haley is a terrier mix puppy. She is also a Christmas gift that was returned.
“Haley was adopted out over the holidays, and she was returned to us because the owners couldn’t handle the puppy stage,” said Valerie Kattz with the Humane Society of South Mississippi.
Haley is lucky. She soon will be headed out to another shelter in Minnesota, where she will have a good chance at finding a permanent home.
“I think if they had, maybe, if they had given her a little bit more time to adjust to her new surroundings, everything would have worked out," Kattz said.
It’s an ongoing problem every year. Pets are given away for Christmas presents, but a lot of those pets are brought back to the shelter just weeks later.
To those who adopt a lot, like Elsie Hutchinson of Pass Christian, this is not acceptable.
“Think about if you were adopted and taken back where you came from,” Hutchinson said. “I mean, they’re like you are. They have a personality; they have feelings.”
Others, like first-time adopter Kyrstin Mason, agreed.
“That’s just not right,” she said. “You should keep the pet because it’s just not right to give them up. They need a home; they need a family to love. They are not just your dog, but they’re you best friend and they’re your family.”
There is good news here, however. Out of the 476 pets that were adopted over the Christmas holidays at HSSM, only 22 were returned. That’s down from last year.
Owners are coached before and the after the adoption on big issues like having patience and how to budget costs.
“It’s definitely better for them to keep the animal as opposed to it coming in and out of the shelter because that gets really stressful,” Katz said. “They’re so excited when they get into that new home, like ‘Oh, I found my people, they’re going to love me forever,' and the next thing they know, they’re right back here. So, they need consistency in their lives, just like people do.”
For more information on the Humane Society of South Mississippi, visit its website.