That is the question being asked by an animal rescue charity, which is teaming up with the Herald and Gazette series for our Christmas campaign to stop people giving pets as presents.
Wadars Animal Rescue rehomes animals as far as Shoreham in the east, Littlehampton and Ford to the west and as far inland as Ashington.
Tracy Cadman, operations manager for Wadars, said that the decision to look after an animal should be made by the person who will own or look after it, not by a friend or family member.
This is because animals take a lot of time and money to look after, including veterinary, kennelling and cattery fees, food and bedding.
She said: “Christmas is an extremely busy time for most people and definitely not the time to try and settle a new animal into the home. The animals that we rehome have already had one upheaval by coming into us, then going to a new home can be stressful for them, so bringing them into a busy and noisy festive household is far from perfect and is more likely to result in the animal not settling and possibly becoming homeless again.
“Christmas present pets are often put up for rehoming about three or four months down the line, when the recipient realises that they don’t have the time, money or lifestyle to look after an animal.”
She added that pets are a long-term commitment as they can live well into their teens and are not something to take on lightly.
As part of the campaign, Wadars is also warning people not to leave pets at home on their own for long periods of time over the Christmas holidays, and to keep decorations out of the reach of pets. According to Tracy, kittens in particular like tinsel and can swallow it, leading to expensive veterinary bills.
She also advised pet owners not to overfeed their animals with festive treats.
Based in Worthing, Wadars Animal Rescue has been providing care and protection for animals of all kinds since 1969.
At any one time the team has around 50 dogs, cats, and other pets in its care that are looking for new homes.
Anyone interested in adopting a pet in the New Year should contact Wadars on 01903 247111 and speak to a member of the team.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.