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Pet dumping spikes during holiday season

Purchasing a pet as a present may seem like a cute idea for any animal lover, but animal abandonment is an ongoing issue, especially around the holidays.

TYLER, Texas — Animal abandonment, or dumping, is when a pet owner leaves an animal out to fend for itself, usually in circumstances that can cause harm to the animal or to others.

Deborah Dobbs, president and founder of the SPCA of East Texas, says reports of animals left behind typically increases around the holidays.

"People realize the commitment that's required and the level of responsibility and daily care giving needed for a new pet, especially for a puppy or kitten." says Dobbs.

Holiday stress, such as paying for boarding, can lead people to leave their pet outside without adequate food or water for days.

"We see people dump whole bags of food out on the ground and think that is going to last the dog for a week" said Dobbs. "In inclement weather. and with rodents and ants. and all the things that can get into the dog food, that just is not an answer."

When guiding yourself through the decision of whether giving the gift of a an animal is appropriate, focus on the recipient's age, interest, time and space as a few guidelines.

If you are temporarily unable to care for your pet, there are daycare and boarding facilities in East Texas that can take care of your pet for a few days. 

If things are not working out and you must find the animal a new home, Dobbs suggests reaching out to a friend, family member or animal advocate that can help find the animal proper care.

"You should exhaust those remedies and try a local reputable group that will take that pet and find it a new home," said Dobbs.

If you come across an abandoned animal, contact your county or city animal services first. If they are unable to take in the stray, reach out to local animal rescues to see if they can assist. 

RELATED: Tyler Animal Shelter offering free microchipping

RELATED: New rules for 'outside dogs' in Texas come into effect next year

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