A spokesperson for the Dogs Trust charity has repeated an appeal for people not to buy puppies as a Christmas gift as they pause their adoption programme until January 4.
“Santa doesn't bring dogs for Christmas, a dog is for life not just for Christmas,” Carina Fitzsimons told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland. “We'd really recommend people don't get puppies or dogs at Christmas, wait until the new year.
“It's a really busy time and puppies need lots of attention, as does any new dog, but puppies especially who have left their mother. Christmas is quite busy, people could be wrapping presents, visiting, people just don't have the time to give the puppy.
“Guests can be a bit overwhelming for puppies, it can lead to behaviour problems later in life. Housetraining takes a few weeks, it takes lots of patience and consistency from all the family to get a puppy to be house trained.
“If you're cooking Christmas dinner you don't want little accidents and then there's the trees and decorations. Forbidden stuff that you don't want them to play with, a puppy won't know the difference between an expensive gift and something to chew and puppies need to eat and chew.”
Ms Fitzsimons said puppies are a 13-year commitment and they're not a material item to be gifted as a surprise, “they need stability, routine and a calm environment to settle into.
“As wonderful as Christmas is, it just isn't the time of year to make that commitment.”
It was critical that in the first few months of their lives that puppies get positive socialisation experiences and basic training, she added. “That can set them up for the best start in life, many people, even with the best intentions, are not able to provide that at a busy time like Christmas.”
The Dogs Trust receives a lot of surrender requests in January, explained Ms Fitzsimons, from people all around the country. “As we primarily take dogs from dog pounds, we're unfortunately not in a position to help everybody that calls us, because we prioritise the dogs in the pounds, because they're obviously at risk of being put to sleep.
“We also endeavour to take in vulnerable surrender dogs when we can.
December is one of our busiest months, it's just never-ending the amount of dogs waiting to come into us from pounds all around the country, unfortunately, there's a huge number of unwanted dogs in Ireland.