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Chia Pets often euthanized after novelty wears off

CINCINNATI - Secondhand stores have long been the shelter of choice for discarded stuffed animals. Recently these shops have reported a sharp rise in the number of Chia Pets showing up as donations from those looking to de-clutter.

Some Chia’s haven’t been lucky enough to wind up on a thrift store shelf. Many are being euthanized. “Folks buy these pets this time of year thinking it will be a great gift,” says James Fenwick, an expert in terracotta figurines. “What they soon find out is that there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with them. They need to be watered, kept in a good amount of light.”

Part of the problem, insists Fenwick, is the way in which the “Chias” are advertised. “That catchy jingle, and the time lapse photography, I feel gives people the wrong impression.” In the commercials, the Chia “fur” grows in the time it takes to sing the jingle, but in reality can take upwards of two weeks. In that time, owners can lose interest and start. That spells a tragic and ugly end to the Chias who often wither and die, winding up in a drawer, closet or box in the basement.

“Sometimes, it’s just the best thing for them,” says former Chia owner Dough Wonstottle. “It’s terrible watching one suffer on a shelf, totally ignored. Everyone gets a good laugh when you unwrap one at the office Christmas party, but the laughter stops after you’ve seen it sprout once, and you ask, ‘what the heck do I do with this thing now?’ And, well, the sad answer is a trip to that big Wallgreen's in the sky.”