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      Think twice before giving pets as presents

      Who wouldn't love waking up Christmas morning and finding a new pet under the tree?

      While giving a pet as a Christmas gift might sound like a great idea, buyers and adopters are encouraged to make it a family affair.

      "Adopting a pet should always be a family decision, particularly during the holiday season," said Colin LaVaute, Shelter Relations Coordinator at the Central Missouri Humane Society. "Beyond that instant euphoria of bringing this new pet into your family, there's a lot of commitment and time that you have to give to this animal for the rest of its life."

      A new study by the ASPCA supports giving pets as presents. Of the people surveyed who got their pets as a gift, 86 percent of them kept their pet.

      The ASPCA recommends adoption from shelters, rescues, friends, family or responsible breeders -- not from places where the animal's source is unknown.

      As always, it's important to do your research and discuss the responsibilities of owning a pet with your family before adopting or buying. Make sure everyone's on board so your new pet gets the love and care it deserves.

      For more information on how to donate to the Central Missouri Humane Society, visit comogives.com.