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Lone Star Sanctuary For Animals Use Gift Certificates To Help Ensure Animals Given As Holidays Gifts Aren't Returned Or Are Left To The Streets

MIDLAND -- When Beth Clodfelter, worked her first Christmas at Lone Star Sanctuary for Animals, she noticed something unsettling.
MIDLAND -- When Beth Clodfelter, worked her first Christmas at Lone Star Sanctuary for Animals, she noticed something unsettling.

"I just noticed there was a lot of people coming out to try and adopt animals as gifts," said Clodfelter.

Something local shelters don't recommend, due to the high number of returns they receive after the holidays.

"If they don't really know what they're getting into or making a commitment to the lifetime of the animal, they get tired of them or they may get too big, maybe they're thinking they're getting a little puppy and it gets bigger so, they just release them or they take them to animal control," said N. "Steg" Stegall, executive director for the Midland Humane Coalition.

And shelter officials say animals that are released to roam the streets only add to the problem.

"There's an overabundance of stray animals right now in the Permian Basin, animals being dumped, this is a lifetime commitment. It's not just for the week of Christmas that the kids are home," Stegall said.

As a solution, Lone Star created a pet gift certificate that they started using in 2011.

"People can come out, pay the hundred dollar adoption fee, we give them a certificate in return. And what we recommend they do is give that gift certificate as a present,"said Clodfelter.

Clodfelter says this then allows the recipient to pick out their own animal and decide if they really want a pet.

"If you're shopping and you buy a sweater, you can return that but, animals, you can't just return animals I mean because you just get tired of them or you know, one day later it just doesn't work right," Stegall said

According to Clodfelter, this gift certificate system has really helped in gift adoptions.

She says around the months of February and March of 2009, Around 40 -animals that were given as Christmas gifts were returned.

This year, with the gift certificate process, Clodfelter says only three animals were returned.

"We've decreased greatly in the number of returns that we get due to that," said Clodfelter.

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