Highlands & Islands (Labour) MSP Rhoda Grant backs SSPCA warning that pets should not be seen as cute gifts to give just at Christmas, but they are for all year round and for the life of the pet.
SSPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Every year we stress that pets should never be bought on a whim or given as surprise gifts, but some people clearly aren’t getting the message.
“Sadly, our animal rescue and rehoming centres are full every Christmas and, shockingly, some owners see our centres as dumping grounds and animals as disposable items they can just give away.
“This is particularly evident over the festive period and in the months that follow and the saddest cases are when people try to give up their older dog to make way for a Christmas puppy. Recently we were given a hard luck story and took in an elderly dog and then found out the owners had visited another charity and bought a pup and, sadly, this happens often.
“One owner even told us they didn’t want their dog making their house untidy when they had guests over for Christmas, which is just ludicrous.”
He added: “We will stop rehoming puppies, kittens and baby animals between 19 December and 3 January to avoid people taking on pets to give away as gifts”.
Rhoda Grant commented: “ As a pet owner myself, I plead with people to think through the decision of taking on a pet or giving a pet as a Christmas gift, as such a decision can have a big impact on families and individuals.
“Be sure the person who is being given the gift is ready, prepared and understands all the implications of looking after such a pet before you take or make any decision. That said, If you have thought through the decision and can satisfy yourselves that you can afford pets a good home, then there is nothing more rewarding than coming home to your pet and spending time with it.”