The Houston Humane Society has a warning for families who are looking to add a furry friend to their homes this holiday season.

The humane society is warning against buying a pet from online sites like Craigslist, shopping in pet stores or buying from flea markets or roadside/parking lot vendors because the animal could be sick.

“Our animal cruelty investigation team has seen a rise in the number of complaint calls from local residents that have purchased a sick pet,” said Monica Schmidt of the Houston Humane Society. “Our Animal Wellness Clinic is seeing a number of clients with recently purchased pets fighting anything from intestinal parasites to dangerous and deadly diseases like parvo.”  

The Houston Humane Society provided the following information to consider if you’re looking to add a new puppy or kitten to their homes:

  • Virtually all pets sold in pet stores are supplied by pet mills.
  • While you may feel sorry for that dog or cat in a pet store window, by purchasing it you are putting more money in the pockets of pet mill owners – We all know the horrors of pet mills.
  • Puppies and kittens from pet mills and backyard breeders are usually plagued by intestinal parasites, have had little or no veterinary care in their short life and have a high chance of developing some type of serious illness like parvo or distemper.
  • Breeders and pet mill owners are NOT veterinarians, but they choose to “doctor” animals themselves to save money.  Many vaccines need to be kept at a certain temperature, must be administered a certain way and have to be given at a certain age.  Make sure any pet you adopt has been examined and cared for by a licensed veterinarian. 
  • If you plan to add a pet to your family this holiday season, Houston Humane Society is urging you to opt to adopt.  All pets adopted from Houston Humane Society have had a general health exam by a veterinarian, are current on vaccines, spay/neutered, microchipped and have been dewormed.  In addition, Houston Humane Society gives every adoptee 30 days of free pet health insurance.