UNITED KINGDOM — Animal welfare charities and the RSPCA are expecting a surge of abandoned dogs in the coming months due to people giving animals as gifts.
The numbers estimate about three animals are abandoned every hour during the holiday period. During the Christmas week alone, the RSPCA receives about 350 complaints about abandoned dogs.
The issue is that once the animals reach two or three months, many people realize they cannot handle a boisterous and hyper animal.
Some shelters, such as the Mount Street branch of the RSPCA, have temporarily stopped all adoptions until December 28.
Mandy Miller, animal centre manager of the Bradford and District Branch of RSPCA, asks that people think long and hard before acquiring a new animal for the holiday.
“People have to think how long they will have that animal for. They could be with you for the next 20 years. They have to think about their lifestyle,” Miller tells the Telegraph and Argus. “It should not be a snap decision. There is a lot more to it.”
Lorraine Kirkham, chair of the Cheltenham RSPCA branch, is hoping that the message is getting across.
“Some people don’t think about the consequences of buying a puppy or kitten. They think ‘wouldn’t this be lovely?’ but an animal is for life. Someone might think that they can look after a pet, but veterinary bills and vaccinations add up, and it can cost thousands,” Kirkham explains to the Gloucestershire Echo.
People are encouraged to buy their children books about dogs and then going to their local shelter in the new year once the family is fully prepared for their new four-legged sibling.
“An animal is for life, not just for Christmas.”