Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567
Dogs Trust warns: ‘A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas’

CELEBRITIES MAY consider a dog the latest fashion accessory, but Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, is today issuing a warning against buying dogs as Christmas presents to keep up with the latest fad.

A new survey released by the charity and NOP reveals that an astonishing 11% of the population would consider buying a dog as a present for someone. In the 15-24 age group, those most affected by fashion trends, the figure rises to 22%.

Dogs Trust Chief Executive and creator of the world famous slogan "A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas TM" , Clarissa Baldwin, comments

"Giving someone a new puppy for Christmas along with a pair of cowboy boots or a faux fur stole is not something you should do lightly.

"Sadly every year charities such as Dogs Trust have to pick up the pieces when people don't think through the commitment of sharing their life with a dog. Even before the New Year, our Rehoming Centres will already start to count the cost of impulse buying as dogs, old and young, are dumped on their doorsteps

"Dogs can bring a world of happiness into your life. Fashions change, please make sure your commitment to your dog does not."

If you are thinking about getting a puppy this Christmas, please consider the following:
" Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment. The average dog lives for 13 years.

" Dogs aren't cheap to care for. You should expect to spend around £8,000 over his lifetime.

" Puppies can be extremely hard work for an owner, particularly if there are young children in the house - do you have enough time to spend with your pup?

" Dogs don't come fully trained. They can cause a lot of damage to your possessions through chewing and accidents. How committed are you to training your dog?

" Christmas is always a very hectic time of year with relatives and friends arriving. This isn't the best time to introduce your new dog to the house.

Last year the local authorities collected over 105,000 stray and abandoned dogs across the UK in 12 months and destroyed one dog every hour because their owners could not be traced or no homes found for them.

Dogs Trust's network of 15 Rehoming Centres work round the clock to find homes for rescue dogs. However, each year they will see an increase in dogs being abandoned following the Christmas period.

Twelve week old crossbreed, Turkey, was abandoned in a cardboard box outside Dogs Trust Newbury on Boxing Day last year. Staff at the centre believe he was bought as a Christmas present for someone in the local area who then got bored of him as the novelty wore off.

Dogs Trust Newbury Manager, Maureen Iggleden, comments:

"Christmas and Spring can often be extra busy in the Rehoming Centres. Sometimes owners will tire of their dogs even before the Christmas holidays are over but often it is not until late Spring when the puppies start to get bigger and their cute puppy ways are seen as boisterous and an inconvenience."

In an effort to prevent even more impulse purchases during the festive season, all 15 Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre temporarily stop rehoming dogs from 19th December 2004 to 2nd January 2005.

If you would like to support the "A Dog is For life, Not Just for Christmas TM" campaign, then please call 020 7837 0006 for your free car sticker and to find out more.