Animal shelters warn about pets as presents

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 22 2015) -- Animal shelter directors are warning families to make sure they buy pets for the correct reasons this holiday season, as many shelters in central Indiana run holiday specials.

The Animal Shelter of Johnson County started waiving adoption fees on cats and dogs at the beginning of December and will continue the discount until the end of January.

"Even though the animals are free, we want to make sure people realize that you have a potential new member of your family that you might have to take care of for 15, 20  years,” Animal Shelter of Johnson County Director Michael Delp said.

The shelter has seen a huge increase in the amount of animals finding homes so far this month, Delp said, three to four times the usual amount.

“You always hope for the best and when it exceeds your hopes that’s just a terrific thing," he said. “Every animal here deserves to be in a home for Christmas and that’s our goal."

The shelter still has some cats and dogs available and is also starting to take in more animals from nearby shelters.

“We have waived the adoption fee, but we have not waived the adoption process," Delp said.

The shelter does not allow people to buy pets for another family or a friend, and still has a strict vetting process before it lets a person adopt an animal.

"We want to make sure you can afford the animal," Delp said. "And we want to meet the person that is going to be the forever home."

Delp said he comes into the shelter every year on Christmas day to make sure the animals left get a little extra attention, but says he has a different dream this year.

“This year I would like to come in and maybe just look at the empty cages," he said.

Indianapolis Animal Care and Control is also running specials on pets in the month of December.