Adopt, don’t shop this holiday season

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Of all 52 weeks in a year, the two leading up to Christmas Day set a record for the most animal adoptions and purchases, according to WTHI-TV.

The holiday season is notorious for bringing a new pet into the family, as animal inquiries skyrocket throughout the holidays. While it may seem intriguing to customize a pet with a breeder, adopting is just as fun and more rewarding for both the family and the animal. Adopt, don’t shop for pets this holiday season to fight against shelter overcrowding and unethical breeding.

Overcrowding of animal shelters not only results in a shelter animal’s life lost, but also a prospective shelter animal’s life too. When shelters reach maximum capacity, they euthanize their animals and close their doors to any other animals seeking care. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized out of the 6.3 million animals that enter a shelter each year. Almost 15 percent of animals that enter shelters never make it out alive, and this number has grown since “COVID-19 pets” were surrendered following the end of quarantine. Instead of bringing a new life into the world or buying one from the breeder, consider adopting one from the shelter. According to a study by Paw Works, if one in every five Americans who want a pet in the next year adopt, not a single adoptable animal will have to be euthanized. Clearing shelters is not an easy task, but together, we can end euthanasia and turn overcrowding around this holiday season.

To a customer, the process of breeding a dog may seem ethical and humane, but in reality, it is far from it. Breeders are known for disregarding genetic diseases, breeding family members and raising animals in poor living conditions. All of these factors lower animals’ lives and lead to many problems along the way, which require money on top of a breeder’s already high prices. According to the People for for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, bred French bulldogs are among the dog breeds most prone to health complications, especially those with certain genetic traits and appearances that customers see as “desirable.” In addition, Time magazine reports that as many as one in four purebred dogs suffer from a serious genetic problem, meanwhile mixed breeds, which dominate shelters, are much healthier due to strong genetic diversity. Rather than bringing a life into this world that is destined to inherit health conditions, adopting an animal is far less money and much more suitable for both the owner’s and the animal’s needs.

Most breeders market their animals as “task dogs” that are bred to carry out specific duties.  For instance, a family may avoid an animal shelter and go straight to a breeder to find themselves a guard or herding dog. This is because many people believe that selectively bred animals are smarter than shelter animals, and will therefore perform their tasks better. In reality, this is not correct. According to a study by the Encyclopedia for Dog Owners, mixed breed dogs are more intelligent than purebred dogs and are easier to train for temperament reasons. Because of this, adopting an animal from a shelter to fulfill a certain task is much more effective than purchasing a young animal and raising it, especially when its ease to pick up commands and carry out tasks is far less than shelter animals. Skip the high prices, training sessions and temper tantrums trying to train a purebred animal. Instead, adopt a highly intelligent companion for a fraction of the price and a multitude of ease.

Adopt, don’t shop for pets this holiday season to fight against shelter overcrowding and unethical breeding. To adopt an animal locally, consider visiting the Irvine Animal Care Center’s Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Fair on Dec. 5. Over 200 animals will be available for adoption from nearby shelters and rescue groups. For more information, visit https://www.cityofirvine.org/irvine-animal-care-center/home-holidays.