The SSPCA will stop rehoming baby animals over the festive period in a bid to stop them being given as Christmas presents.
The charity will suspend the rehoming of puppies, kittens and other youngsters between 19 December 2015 and 3 January 2016.
SSPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “It’s an upsetting reality that in the weeks and months after Christmas, our centres are often asked to take in puppies, kittens and other pets that were given as presents.”
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Mr Flynn said: “Even worse, some of these animals are dumped like rubbish once the novelty has worn off.
“Every year in the lead up to Christmas we stress animals should never be bought on a whim or given as surprise presents, but some people aren’t getting the message.”
In January this year, the charity took in 235 dogs and more than 250 cats.
Mr Flynn said: “It’s possible some of these animals had been bought for Christmas. For that reason we are asking people to consider whether they have the time and financial resources to be able to properly care for an animal for life. We have to ensure our rescue animals aren’t being taken on by someone who just wants a new pet for Christmas.
“However, our animal rescue and rehoming centres will be open to the public throughout the festive period, including Christmas Day, and young animals can be reserved during this time.
“Our message is simple – a pet is a lifelong commitment and not a present that can be given at Christmas and then forgotten about soon afterwards.”