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Rescues ‘bursting’ with unwanted dogs

The wrong colour to match a sofa, having eyes like David Bowie and being too old rank among some of the excuses given by dog owners for abandoning their pets, according to a leading animal charity.

Staff at shelters countrywide have been left speechless when faced with owners attempting to swap their unwanted pet for a younger model, or even a different colour to match a carpet.
Other visitors have handed over unwanted puppies because of minor misdemeanours such as nibbling the Christmas turkey or trying to unwrap presents.

The Dogs Trust has published a list of some of the most inappropriate reasons given by owners for getting rid of their pets as part of its annual Christmas campaign to discourage people from buying dogs as gifts.

Luckily though, the charity has seen a steep decline in the number of people giving live animals as presents - from 20 per cent of all dogs bought in 1978 to less than 2 per cent now. However, despite the success, the charity said that as many as 131,400 dogs are still given away as gifts every year in Britain, with many ending up abandoned shortly afterwards.

‘Some of the reasons we hear for dogs being abandoned are truly outrageous and saddening,’ said Clarissa Baldwin, the charity's chief executive. ‘Having a dog is a long-term commitment and our anniversary offers the perfect opportunity to remind people that dogs are not fashion accessories or disposable items that can be upgraded or discarded after just a few months.’
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London recently said it was now at ‘bursting point’ even before its Christmas intake, owing to a dramatic rise in the number of stray dogs.

New laws which came into force this year meaning that strays must be handed in to councils rather than the police as in the past have also been blamed for the trend. Confusion over where stray animals should be taken and a shortage of council kennels has left shelters overwhelmed.
It is also feared that many lost pets may be unnecessarily languishing in their shelters because the new laws have left owners unable to trace them.

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