Abandoned dogs warning at Christmas

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Bilpee Ray Cyrus in Merseyside Dogs Home. Pic © Emma Fegan JMU Journalism

Animal shelters are under mounting pressure as more and more dogs across Merseyside are being found dumped and neglected due to the desire for new puppies in the run up to Christmas.

The number of puppy farms continues to grow, taking advantage of this Christmas trend, meaning older dogs and leftover puppies are being discarded and having to be rescued by charities.

Merseyside Dogs Home is an animal charity that takes in the largest amount of local stray dogs. As many as 3,000 lost dogs are found in the region each year and they rehome around 600 a year.

Fundraising manager, Maree Brown, told JMU Journalism how the number being taken in has already doubled since last month, and explained the negative effects this is having on both dogs and their services.

She said: “It’s a sad fact but it is very true that we see an increase in the number of dogs coming into our rehoming centre over the Christmas period and in the first few months of the year. This could be due to families getting the old dogs out of the way to welcome new puppies.

YouTube: Emma Fegan

“This puts a lot of extra pressure on us as we, like many other rescues, stop rehoming over Christmas to prevent dogs being adopted as gifts and returning to us early the following year. This means that our kennels quickly become full, forcing us to use private kennels until we have more space.

“The extra dogs mean we need more food, medication, vaccinations, bedding, veterinary care, volunteer support, and ultimately financial support to pay for all of this.”

Maree wants to stress the importance to ‘adopt not shop’ this Christmas, taking in a dog already in desperate need of loving home instead of contributing to the puppy farm money-making schemes.

She said: “We already have our first puppy of the year, a Lurcher Cross, with no tag or microchip and not reported lost.

“We suspect that she was either an early Christmas gift that already lost its novelty value, or she was the last of the litter that a breeder just wanted to be gone. Dogs are family, not gifts, and when your circumstances mean you are ready to take on a dog, please consider giving a rescue dog a second chance at happiness.”

About Emma Fegan, JMU Journalism