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Use Caution before Welcoming a Furry Family Member for the Holidays

OZARK -- While a cute and cuddly cat or dog might seem like the perfect Christmas present for a family member, many times families are not ready for the responsibility or time commitment that a pet requires.

This is why shelters see a high "return" rate of animals during January. The Ozark-Dale County Humane Society workers said money and time commitments are among the main reasons.

Dogs cost a family roughly $500 a year while a cat can add an additional $450 onto a family's budget.

Time and cost are not the only things to consider before giving a pet a home for the holidays, humane society workers said families should also take their child's age into account.

"One year olds, three year olds, they don't really understand responsibility," Shelter Assistant Manager Amanda Warner said. "Even eight year olds don't understand responsibility. You're looking more at your twelve and up, those are the ones that can take a dog or a cat."

The Dale County Humane Society receives six to 10 calls a day from people hoping to bring their Christmas dog or cat to the shelter. This is double the amount of calls the humane society receives on a daily basis.

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