Animal Advocates Warn Against Giving Pets as Presents

Even though adoption rates are down, staff at the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) say animal lovers should refrain from bringing cats and dogs into chaotic atmospheres.

It's a tough world for pets without a home.

At the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) shelter, adoption rates are down and relinquishment rates are up, according to staff. 

"We're in a crisis situation," said Dr. E. J. Finocchio, a veterinarian at the Riverside RISPCA, noting about 33 percent of animals currently housed were handed over to the shelter after owners came up against hard economic times. "It's a perfect storm of circumstances."

But even though staff would like to increase the adoption rate that is now at 83 percent, they say wrapping a bow around a furry creature is not the ideal holiday situation.

"It's not a good time of year to adopt a pet," he said, noting dogs and cats are social creatures. "Animals are creatures of habit, they don't like change. At the holidays, there is a lot of commotion going on. It can be very stressful to an animal, they should go to a very calm situation."

The East Providence shelter facilitates communities throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The private, non-profit works with local law enforement agencies to prosecute animal cruelty cases. There are about 90 cats and dogs and a small number of rabbits, iguanas and snakes waiting for a home.

"Our main goal is to protect animals in all situations through education and legislation," said Finocchio.


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