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VANCOUVER, BC (December 3, 2016) – Every year, pet stores sell puppies, kittens, rabbits, ferrets, mice, guinea pigs, and other animals as gifts. Kathy Powelson, Executive Director of Paws For Hope Animal Foundation, a non-profit in Vancouver, BC that directly assists animal rescue charities and advocates to ban the retail sale of animals, says it’s time for the public to realize that Pets Are Not Products.

People who buy animals as gifts often act on impulse,” says Powelson. “They get a cute puppy, wrap it in a bow, and four months later they’re tired, frustrated, and their bank account is taxed. They realize they made a mistake in judgement. And that sweet dog ends up in a shelter. Or a cute kitten ends up at the side of the road. It happens way more than you’d think.”

In fact, many rescue organizations see an increase in animal surrenders after the holidays. Lisa Hutcheon of the Small Animal Rescue Society notes that surrender requests “increase about five months after Christmas, when rabbits hit puberty. That is something the pet store doesn’t prepare them for.” Shannon Briggs of Vancouver Island Dog Rescue Society sees the same pattern with dog surrenders annually, “In the months following Christmas, we’ve had families give up their new pets because they were not welcomed as lifetime family members but were instead equated to just another trinket amongst a heap of presents.”

Powelson and her organization, which supports rescues like Small Animal Rescue Society and Vancouver Island Dog Rescue, intend to put an end to the retail sale of animals. To do so, Paws For Hope has launched a Pets Are Not Products campaign that encourages people to avoid purchasing animals as gifts this season by sharing sad, disturbing, and true animal surrender stories.

Volunteer, donate to a shelter in someone’s name, or walk your neighbour’s dog,” says Powelson of gift giving alternatives. “Buy a ‘Rescue is my Favourite Breed’ Tshirt and support animal welfare. There are lots of ways to show love to your family, friends, and animals without wrapping a pet up in a bow.

ABOUT PAWS FOR HOPE ANIMAL FOUNDATION Paws for Hope Animal Foundation is committed to creating more sustainable animal welfare and purposeful companion animal protection in British Columbia. We are the only BC charity to directly help animals and to also assist animal rescue charities with their different areas of need. This includes grant funding, advocacy and professional development workshops.

Media contact information: Kathy Powelson Executive Director, Paws for Hope Animal Foundation 604.396.9297 | kathy@pawsforhope.org

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