Don’t buy a dog for Christmas, Isle of Dogs MP urges

PUBLISHED: 07:01 09 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:21 05 October 2010

Clive Tagg. 2009

Clive Tagg. 2009

Clive Tagg

DON’T go to the Dogs Trust if you want this cute pup for Christmas. The animal charity is banning handing out pups from December 20 until January in a move backed by Animal Welfare Minister Jim Fitzpatrick to stop pups being abandoned afterwards

By Mike Brooke

DON’T go to the Dogs Trust if you want this cute pup for Christmas.

The animal charity is banning handing out pups at its 18 centres from Sunday week, December 20, until well after the Yultide.

The drastic move, backed by Animal Welfare Minister Jim Fitzpatrick whose East London constituency includes the Isle of Dogs, naturally, is aimed at stopping thoughtless people giving pups as Christmas presents, then having the poor pooch abandoned on Boxing Day.

The Poplar MP lent his support for the seasonal campaign when he visited the charity’s London homing centre yesterday to launch a new Code of Practice for owning a dog.

“It’s a big responsibility,” he said. “I hope the new advice I’m publishing will help prevent animals being abandoned.”

You’ll now have to wait till January 2 to pick a pet from the trust for rehoming.

The charity last year had an unwanted pup abandoned on Christmas Day itself, a gift for a young family who soon realised they hadn’t the time for a puppy, Dogs Trust chief Clarissa Baldwin recalled.

“Some of the reasons we hear for dogs being abandoned are outrageous,” she said.

“A dog is not a fashion accessory or disposable item that can be upgraded or discarded.”

Clarissa was the brains behind the slogan A dog is for life, not just for Christmas,’ which she dreamed up 31 years ago for Christmas, 1978, when a fifth of all the dogs in Britain were given as presents.

Today, the figure is down to a trickle of less than two per cent. But it still represents 131,000 pups every year, at risk of being dumped.

The Dogs Trust cares for 16,000 strays and abandoned pets each year. But it has a non destruction’ policy and will never put down a healthy dog.

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