GHENT, WV (WVNS)– The Humane Society is asking consumers to be cautious about where and how they buy a pet for the holidays.

The society encourages that families adopt animals from the shelter and avoid online and puppy mill purchases. Lindsay Hamrick, Director of Shelter Outreach and Engagement with the Humane Society of the United States, said it’s important to understand the type of environment and lifestyle the new animal is coming into.

She also talked about the dangers of putting an animal in a box to surprise loved ones.

“The arrival of a new pet to a home is always a stressful experience for that animal even if they’re really social and excited to meet everyone. So, we certainly don’t want to put them in a situation where that stress is elevated including putting them in a box which would be pretty stressful for some pets,” Hamrick said.

Here are some tips about buying an animal as a gift:

  • Buy a gift certificate to cover adoption fees to a local shelter.
  • To surprise family members, have the family sit comfortably and bring the animal out from another room.

For more information, visit the Humane Society of United States website.