Pleas not to buy dogs as Christmas gifts 'still falling on deaf ears'

Pleas not to buy dogs as Christmas gifts 'still falling on deaf ears'

Animal welfare charity Dogs Trust has reported a 22% increase in the number of people looking to return a dog in the three weeks after Christmas compared to the previous year.

A total of 186 calls were recorded by the charity from people trying to relinquish their dog.

The charity launched their #PawsForThought campaign in November last year, where they urged the public to “pause” and think twice before getting a dog for Christmas.

Catriona Birt, head of operations at Dogs Trust, highlighted the case of PJ, a two-year-old Jack Russell terrier, who watched from the car park as a man dropped his lead and drove away.

He is spending most of his day in bed and is scared to meet other dogs while he waits for his forever home.

“It is painfully upsetting to see PJ, a friendly young dog being discarded in such a heartless way," said Ms Birt.

"PJ is a particularly sad case which highlights how important those early months are for a pup and how vital it is to make time to socialise and habituate your new arrival in their puppyhood and adolescence.

She added: "He is now recovering well from the incident and he is looking for a new family who will love him.”

Dogs Trust operates at full capacity and offers as many places as possible to dogs from Irish pounds, and are not in a position to take surrendered dogs from members of the public.

However, in the majority of the cases so far this year, the welfare of the dogs found straying or surrendered was of such concern, that the dogs were admitted for immediate veterinary attention.

Suzie Carley, Executive Director said: “We are saddened to see an increase in the number of dogs and puppies being surrendered or abandoned after Christmas again this year.

"Dogs Trust urges the public to avoid getting a dog around the Christmas season. It is disappointing to see that this message is still falling on deaf ears for many as the number of surrender requests continues to rise."

She added: "Dogs Trust coined the phrase 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas' and it is astonishing to see that almost 40 years later this message is still as relevant today.”

- Digital desk

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