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A local pet adoption agency is suspending placements for two weeks before Christmas to make sure their charges will not become unwelcomed gifts.

The Pet Connection, a non-profit maternity and special care shelter, disagrees with giving animals as gifts, said Julie Garvey, its president.

"People want to pick out their own pet when and if they are ready -- not when someone else thinks they are," she said. While more traditional gifts can be stored when not in use, "animals require time, patience (and) money for vet care for the next 10 to 15 years," she added.

"There is too much commotion going on around the holidays," Ms. Garvey said. "Your new pet, no matter how happy it may seem, (is) nervous being in strange surroundings and needs time to adjust."

Unwelcome pets start showing up at shelters the first few months of the new year, Ms. Garvey said. "All this could have been avoided if people would just let people decide for themselves when and what they want in a pet," she said.

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