More than a third of the dogs given new homes by the DSPCA in the past year were pedigree breeds — a figure described as an “all-time high”.
According to figures released by the animal charity, 35% of the more than 1,600 such animals were pedigree dogs. It warned that many illicit puppy traders would shortly be offering “ready for Christmas” puppies on a variety of internet sites.
Speaking at the launch of its “Adopt a pet don’t buy” Christmas campaign, DSPCA chief executive Brian Gillen said the increase in abandoned pets was due to the downturn in the economy.
“Not alone have we seen a substantial increase in abandoned pedigree pets, post Celtic Tiger, but also a very worrying increase in pets purchased on the internet in line with the massive increase of online sales in general. We estimate that on any given day there are in excess of 10,000 dogs and puppies for sale online.”
Mr Gillen said that many of these online sellers were dealers who kept dogs in appalling conditions.
“At this time of year we start to see advertisements stating ‘ready for Christmas’, in other words puppies purposely bred for the Christmas market.
“People don’t realise that, even on a reputable website, many of the implied genuine sellers are simply unscrupulous dealers with puppies bred to order in the most appalling conditions, often inbred and susceptible to illnesses and disease that only become apparent in the weeks after the purchase.”
Meanwhile, Dogs Trust has warned that winter abandonments have started early this year.
The charity’s executive director Mark Beazely said the service was bracing itself for an influx of dogs over the winter months.
“Come in and talk to us, think long and hard about having a dog. We can advise you on what’s best for you,” he said.
* If you wish to contact adopt an animal or to donate to the DSPCA, telephone 01 4994700 or visit www.dspca.ie or www.dogstrust.ie
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