FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Staff at the Valley Animal Center say a record number of cats and dogs have been returned to their shelter; they want anyone thinking about adding a new four-legged addition to their family this holiday season to be prepared for the long-term commitment.

Echo the dog was adopted from the Valley Animal Center when he was a puppy but was returned to the shelter months later. He is now waiting once again for his forever home. The animal center says stories like Echo’s are too common.

“We’ve seen an uprising in returns to our shelter because of what we consider basic puppy behavior,” said animal care adoption supervisor Ruben Cantu.

Basic puppy behavior includes high energy, jumping, barking, and chewing. Cantu says no animal is perfect, but training can make caring for your animal easier.

“It takes an hour a day to invest just basic commands like sit, stay, lay down; even teaching them things like fetch is a great habit to exercise your pet,” said Cantu.

It is not just dogs that are returned to the shelter, Minah Camacho, an animal care associate, says cats are returned just as much.

This year 106 animals that were adopted have been returned.

“We do have probably the most returns after the holidays. I would say just to those situations when they’re getting them as gifts,” said Camacho.

The popular gift of giving an animal as a present during the holidays is straining shelters like the Valley Animal Center.

If you’re planning on adding a furry friend to your home here’s what you need to know.

  • Do your research on what type of pet and breed best suits your needs.
  • Pets are long-term commitments; dogs can live up to 15 years and cats can live up to 20 years.
  • Make time for your pet and give them as much love as possible
  • Pets can be expensive; food and medical bills can add up to hundreds of dollars each year

Following these tips can help you give the best possible care to your forever best friend.