Americans have a long tradition of giving pets — usually puppies or kittens — as gifts for special occasions such as birthdays, holidays or graduation, but there’s debate over how this practice impacts the animal’s welfare.
A recent ASPCA survey found that 96% of the people who received pets as gifts thought it either increased or had no impact on their love or attachment to that pet. The vast majority of these pets stayed in the home (86%). The survey also revealed no difference in attachment based on the gift being a surprise or known in advance. Several studies conducted in the 1990’s and 2000 (Patronek, 1996, Scarlett, 1999 New, 1999, New 2000) found that pets acquired as gifts are less likely to be relinquished than pets acquired by the individual.