1. ITV Report

Dogs still being given as Christmas presents as online trading booms

The Dogs Trust has launched its annual Christmas campaign to discourage people from giving puppies and dogs to people as Christmas presents.

It's 34 years since their slogan 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas' was conceived, but every year record numbers of pets are left unwanted after the festive break.

They say part of that is down to how easy it is to buy puppies and dogs on the internet, and the rush for 'designer dogs', with many people copying celebrities in wanting certain breeds.

Today it's released the more bizarre excuses people give for having to give up their pets, which include:

  • My dog doesn't match my sofa
  • My dog doesn't fit in my handbag
  • My dog smells too much like a dog
Noah and his owners visiting the vet at the Dogs Trust in Shrewsbury today Credit: ITV Central

One dog given back to the Shrewsbury Centre was 15 month-old-Whippet Noah.

Despite his first owner visiting him when he was a puppy on several occasions, and taking him out on walks - he only lasted 24 hours in their care.

They gave him back saying he was too skinny.

Luckily he's found a new home with Kate and Ian Sheppard, where he's been settling in for the last three weeks.

They say a dog needs plenty of time and attention.

"No dog is just going to be able to go from the kennels into the house without a few teething problems. 24 hours isn't long enough - you need at least a week to see what sort of dog you've got"

– Kate Sheppard, Noah's new owner
The Dogs Trust Centre in Shrewsbury Credit: ITV Central

The charity has four re-homing centres in the region, in Loughborough, Evesham, Shrewsbury and Kenilworth.

This year the Trust has applied a self-imposed ban on people taking away animals in the run up to Christmas.

Bubba the Black Labrador cross has been at the centre in Shrewsbury for three weeks Credit: ITV Central

It's to ensure dogs and puppies are not hastily given to people as presents, only to be discarded and disowned when the reality of becoming a pet owner sinks in.

The Chief Executive of the Trust says people need to think hard before becoming dog owners.

"People don't do any research before they buy a dog and it's so easy to buy a dog - quite often just through a website - click on the website and you get a dog delivered to you - it is just not right - it's far too easy and we want to make sure people really do think about their commitment before they get a dog"

– Clarissa Baldwin, CEO The Dogs Trust

The advice from the Trust is that a dog can bring years of happiness to a home or family - so there's absolutely no rush into making the decision to get one.

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