A PET is for life, not just for Christmas.
Giving a pet as a gift for the holidays is not always the best time to adjust an animal to a new home, according to animal advocates. Even for the most responsible and caring pet lovers, the holidays are likely to be filled with parties and visiting, which makes caring for a pet difficult.
A gift certificate for a pet -- to be picked up after the holidays -- is one way around this problem, but givers should make sure recipients really want a pet and will be responsible and loving owners.
The majority of area animal shelters and societies close pet adoptions for the holidays. Their policies are governed by past holidays when "gift" puppies and kittens were abused.
Most shelters or societies listed below allow a person to chose a pet and pick it up after the holidays. Adoption fees generally vary from $10 to $75, and may include all necessary shots and altering. For more details call the individual shelter or society.
* S.P.C.A. Baltimore City, 3300 Falls Road, Baltimore, 235-8826. Susie Ross, superintendent. No animal age 4 months or under will be adopted out from Dec. 14 to Jan 2. A gift certificate is available and the animal can be picked up on Jan. 2. The agency welcomes donated dry or canned pet food and toys.
* Municipal Shelter of Baltimore City, 301 Stockholm Road in South Baltimore, 396-4688. Lloyd Ross, director. No adoptions between Dec. 16 and Jan. 2. A gift certificate will be available. Welcomes pet toys and food.
* Humane Society of Baltimore County, 1601 Nicodemus Road, Reisterstown, 833-8848. Kate Pullen, shelter manager. No adoptions Dec. 17 to Jan. 2. No gift certificates are given because prospective owners must be interviewed. Donations of pet foods, toys, blankets and litter are welcome, as are volunteers who will walk and play with the animals.
* Animal Control of Baltimore County, 13800 Manor Road, Baldwin, 887-5961. Sewell Price, assistant supervisor. No adoption restrictions.
* Humane Society of Harford County, 2208 Connolly Road, Fallston, 877-9744. Patricia Billings, director. Also provides holding kennel for Harford County Animal Control. Will adopt only to Harford County residents. No adoptions Dec. 11 to Dec. 30. Pets can be chosen and claimed on Dec. 30 if pet has not been reclaimed by owner. Welcomes blankets and toys.
* S.P.C.A. Anne Arundel County, 1815 Bay Ridge Ave., Annapolis, (410) 268-4388. Frank Branchini, executive director. No adoptions from Dec. 19 to Dec. 26. A pet may be selected and applications will be processed on Dec. 26. Welcomes dry and canned pet food, litter, collars and leashes, toys, shampoo and creme rinse.
* Anne Arundel County Animal Control, 7409-A, Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., Glen Burnie, 222-6690. Jan Worrell, director. No adoptions the week before or after Christmas. Welcomes donations of dog cookies.
* Humane Society of Carroll County, 2517 Littlestown Pike, Westminster, (410) 848-4810. Nicki Ratliff, director. Also county animal control service. No adoptions Dec. 14 to Dec. 30.
* Animal Welfare of Howard County, 8556 Davis Road, Columbia, 465-4350. Virginia Estep, manager. No adoptions Dec. 10 to Jan. 5. An exception will be made for a geriatric dog who might find a good home. Welcomes food, toys, blankets, leashes and collars.
* Animal Control of Howard County, 8576 Davis Road, Columbia, 313-2780. Tahira Williams, administrator. No adoptions during Christmas week. Pet may be chosen then adopted after first of year. Welcomes toys, blankets and visitors for animals.