The holiday season typically brings an increase in pet adoptions at the Wisconsin Humane Society.
"December is definitely one of our busier adoption months," said Angela Speed, vice president of communications at WHS.
Speed thinks that's in part because some families are adopting pets as gifts. She added many families have time off from work/school around Christmas and other winter holidays, which can make it a convenient time to adopt an animal.
"They may have more availability to allow that animal to adapt to its new surroundings," Speed said.
Speed says there's a common misconception that animals adopted around the holidays, especially as gifts, are often returned to humane societies around the country.
She cited 2013 research from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals showing that the return rate of animals adopted around the holidays is no different than at other times of the year.
"At WHS, we absolutely do not see a spike in surrenders of newly-acquired animals after the holidays," Speed said.
She said that's in large part because the vast majority of people adopting animals, both around the holidays and at other times of year, have been thinking about doing so for a long time.
"About 75% of them have been considering an animal for more than six months," Speed said.
"Impulse adoptions, although they may happen occasionally, are not the norm," Speed said, "even during the holiday season."
Speed said right now, the Humane Society is housing more than 150 animals looking for new homes.
Potential adopters considering an animal as a gift but unsure of how it would be received can also buy a gift certificate at the Humane Society. Speed said to allow the recipient to select an animal on his/her own.