Are you really prepared to have a new pet for Christmas?

Are you really ready to have a new pet for Christmas?

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - The most popular request from a child around the holidays is asking Santa for a new puppy or kitten.

However, when the Christmas tree is taken down and the decorations put away, the initial excitement is usually over and reality sets in that there is a new family member for many years to come.

"It should be a planned event and making your home ready. There are different things you can do to be prepared: have a sleeping place, have food already on hand," explains Bobbi Yeo of the Lee County Humane Society.

A furry friend can be pricey and new homes need to be prepared.

Taking into account food and vet pills alone, a new dog or cat could cost you around $1,200 a year.

If you are ready for the responsibility of a pet this year, consider adopting from the Lee County Humane Society and giving an animal in need a forever home.

"Last year we got 5,200 animals in and other rescues locally took in about 600. That is 5,800 animals a year in Lee County that came in homeless for one reason or another," says Yeo.

Despite popular belief, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, released a recent study showed 86 percent of pets given as a gifts were still in the home.

LCHS has seen the same pattern over the years.

Their number of animal intakes three to four weeks after Christmas is exactly the same as they are the rest of the year.

"Christmas can actually be a very good time to adopt a pet if you have some time off, extra time to spend with that pet and help them acclimate and spend time training. Helping them settle into the house so when you do go back to work they won't feel so anxious," says Yeo.

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.