They're cute and cuddly, but pets don't always make the best gifts.
Every year, several dogs and cats in desperate need of a home are adopted out only to end up right back at the Austin Animal Center after a few days.
"We have lots and lots, hundreds of pets that need homes, but it's real important to pick out the pet yourself," said Lauralei Combs with AAC.
Combs says hundreds of animals are turned in to the shelter each week. Austin is a no kill city, so when pets are adopted out and then returned, it puts a greater demand on the shelter.
Instead of going down to the animal center and adopting a pet for a loved one, the animal center recommends you purchase a gift card for that loved one. Then go back and pick out a pet together.
Combs says the shelter isn't discouraging pet adoptions. They just want to see all of the animals go to a permanent and safe home.
Before adopting a pet, you should always factor in the costs for: