Family Holiday Stress Puts D.C. Pets at Risk

Family Holiday Stress Puts D.C. Pets at Risk

The Christmas and New Year’s holidays can add emotional and financial stress to families, which can prompt some to give up their pets.

Shelters around the Washington area often see a spike in the number of pets being dropped off this time of year.

“People were going out of town, just deciding they weren’t going to board the animal and would give it up,” Rodney Taylor, with the Prince George’s County Animal Management Division in Maryland tells WTOP.

So, for those looking for a four-legged addition to the family, the end of the year and the first few weeks of January can be a good time.

Taylor adds that shelters work hard with pet owners to help them find ways to keep their animals, offering training or working with family or friends who might be able to take the animal.

If you or your family find yourself wanting to adopt a pet, there are many options around the D.C. area.

Also, if a dog is what you had in mind, consider choosing a black one. Black dogs often are overlooked at local shelters and face tougher times finding a new home.

RELATED: What Should I Know Before Adopting a Pet? (Podcast)

Where to adopt rescue pets

Options to find unwanted or homeless animals up for adoption abound. Whichever facility you choose for your animal companion, adoption can help save a pet's life by not adding to the nation’s pet over-population problem.

A public animal shelter is often government-owned and obligated to receive all animals from local residents. Some city animal control facilities do operate facilities where otherwise healthy animals may be euthanized because medical, behavioral or space needs require it.

Highly rated animal shelters might be operated by private, nonprofit groups that do not euthanize animals.

In addition, pets can be adopted through breed rescue groups, which may or may not have a building but generally rely on a network of volunteers. Rescue groups often arrange for animals to be transported to new foster families or forever homes via volunteer drivers.

Private animal shelters and rescue groups may place animals in foster care to expand their capacity or nurture animals, especially in cases where the animal may be recovering from a medical procedure.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, an estimated 2.7 million adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized at animal shelters every year — many because they could not find families to adopt them.

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