Pets should be valued, not given away
I am distressed by the idea of giving a pet as a gift. First of all, most people value only what they have paid for. If people get pets for free, few people will ever consider their true value. Pets obtained for free may be abused, too.
We should understand that pets are living things, not just toys. They have lives just like you and me. We wouldn't give a person away as a present, would we?
On the other hand, puppy mills take free pure-bred dogs for their breeding stocks and sell them for money. This is not humane. What would you think if your offspring were sold and you were not able to do anything about it?
Finally, giving pets as gifts might cause more animals to be abandoned. If people receive a pet that they do not really want, they may choose to abandon it.
Stray dogs and homeless pets can spread diseases, which may affect our health and lead to all kinds of hygiene problems. I think the authorities should pass a law to prevent animals being given as gifts.
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Pui-yin. A British organisation, Dogs Trust, came up with a slogan in 1978 that is particularly fitting for this topic: 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas'. Sadly, many people get a dog, or other pet, as a present, but - in the same way they get tired of a particular toy or an item of clothing - they often soon get tired.
Being a pet owner is a huge investment. It requires not only a financial investment - on top of food, vet bills can be very high - but a lot of time and love. If you're not willing or able to contribute these things, you shouldn't own a pet.
Yet if you are able to dedicate yourself to another being, one who can't talk to you, but could be loyal and generous in its own way, don't head to the pet store.
Check out SPCA, Hong Kong Dog Rescue and other similar groups for animals that need a home. This is where the idea of 'free pets' works. Not only will you avoid supporting cruel breeders, but you'll also show an abandoned animal that he or she is worthy of love.
Karly, Deputy Editor