Warning over giving pets as Christmas gifts

Inspector Janet Proudlock with one abandoned puppy.  Photo: Scottish SPCA
Inspector Janet Proudlock with one abandoned puppy. Photo: Scottish SPCA

The Scottish SPCA is warning of the dangers of giving animals as Christmas gifts as the charity prepares for one of its busiest times of year.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity has also revealed some of the most ridiculous excuses owners have used when trying to give up their pets.
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 re-homing 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.”
He continued: “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.”
The Scottish SPCA will stop re-homing puppies, kittens and baby animals between 19th December and 3rd January to avoid people taking on pets to give away as gifts.
Chief Supt. Flynn added: “We have to ensure our rescue animals aren’t being taken on by someone who just wants a new pet for Christmas or a cute animal to give as a present without fully thinking through their decision.
“However, our animal rescue and re-homing centres will be open to the public every day, including Christmas Day, and young animals can be reserved during this time. 
“We’ll continue to be asked to take in puppies, kittens and other pets given as presents once the novelty has worn off. In other cases, these pets are abandoned and left to fend for themselves which is extremely callous as well as a criminal offence. 
“Our message is that taking on a pet is a long-term decision and potential owners should ensure they have the time, commitment and financial resources required.”

He added: “Animals simply are not presents which can be given on Christmas Day and forgotten about soon afterwards.”