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Black Friday pet adoptions

by Therese on November 24, 2007

in Cats, Dogs, Pets

Pets have long been a holiday tradition. Not many people can resist a puppy or kitten placed in their arms, especially amid all the holiday frenzy and excitement. However, some animal shelters will not allow pets to be adopted only to be given as gifts. Instead, they encourage people to give gift certificates. For example…

Some Northwest Arkansas animal shelters have policies against adopting pets as gifts and instead offer gift certificates so the recipient can pick his or her own pet. The Fayetteville and Springdale animal shelters sell gift certificates, but the Bella Vista and Rogers shelters do not.

Anthony Rankin, senior animal control officer for the Fayetteville Animal Shelter, said the shelter allows people to adopt pets as gifts for people in their own household, not for people who live in a separate home.

The shelter stopped allowing people to adopt animals as gifts because the animals would end up back at the shelter, Rankin said. “We want the animals to go home for good,” he said.

The shelter encourages the whole family to come in and pick out the animal so it will be a good match, Rankin said. The shelter sells gift certificates people can use to cover the $60 adoption fee, he said.

Donna Miles, director of the Bella Vista animal shelter, said the shelter also has a “no-gift policy.”

“Living, breathing creatures should not be gifts,” Miles said.

The shelter usually starts receiving calls in January from people trying to relinquish pets they received as gifts during the holidays, Miles said. Those calls come in for about a month.

Read more about the Arkansas animal shelters.

This year, however, animal shelters throughout the country are doing something different to find homes for the animals in their care. Yesterday they had Black Friday specials. While millions of people were out hitting the malls looking for bargains, they hoped to lure pet people into the shelters to adopt their pets. Here, the Austin Humane Society had an adoption special on black pets. Because black pets are often the last to be adopted (black dog syndrome), the shelter discounted the adoption fee from over $100 to only $35 for black cats and dogs.

20071124blackfriday.jpgThe Humane Society of Kent County, in Michigan, had the same type of adoption event.

The first “Black Pet Friday” at the Kent County Humane Society was a success as more than 300 people visited the shelter to browse for pets, organizers said.


Those animals with black coats — or even black rings on their tails — were discounted and those shoppers who arrived before 1 p.m. received $25 off any adoption. The result was a “Black Friday” crowd that nearly overwhelmed shelter volunteers and officials.

Read more about the Humane Society of Kent County’s Black Friday adoption event.

Black Friday adoption events are certainly a novel approach to finding homes for pets, and while I’m certainly not an experting on rehoming pets, I can think of some pros and cons to going about it this way. But as I’m reading in Redemption, by Nathan Winograd, the way things have been done in animal shelters in the past isn’t necessarily the best way. So, whether or not the pets who found homes on Black Friday were gifts, I do hope they found loving, forever homes with people who will cherish them as permanent, and much loved, family members.

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jan November 25, 2007 at 6:15 pm

While I think Christmas is the worst time to get a pet–and never should one give a pet as a gift–it is gratifying to see some animal shelters being creative in their marketing ideas to bring the public into adopting a shelter animal. I have enough confidence in the public to think that most of the pets will have a good home and not end up back at the shelter.


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