At this time every year, as the immediacy of Christmas turns normally pragmatic and sensible people into something altogether less so, animal welfare organisations make the very same appeal. Yet statistics suggest that their campaigns are not having the desired impact.
Since last Christmas something around 4,500 dogs were destroyed and around 17,500 were abandoned. Though most of these unfortunate dogs were not unwanted Christmas gifts, far too many were.
Some may have been Christmas gifts given and accepted with the best of intentions but they proved too much for their owners.
Modern life, especially if both partners are working outside of the home, conspires to make dog ownership a challenge beyond many well-intentioned and caring people.
This is especially so in an urban environment where high-spirited animals may have to be confined and left without exercise for long, often too long, periods.
The best way to avoid these difficulties, and inflicting something approaching cruelty on a dog, is to decide not to buy one unless you are absolutely certain you can look after it. If in doubt say “no”.
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