Northern Irish Dogs Trust inundated with calls to rehome unwanted Christmas dogs

Yorkshire terrier cared for by Dogs Trust shelter dog-serious
© Dogs Trust - Facebook

Despite efforts to urge people not to buy dogs as Christmas presents, Britain's leading charity reveals shocking statistics in the wake of festive impulsiveness.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 14/01/2020, 23:00

A dog is for life not just for Christmas” was coined over 40 years ago by Clarissa Baldwin OBE, the then head of what was known as the National Canine Defence League. She felt compelled to come up with a memorable tagline that could aid people's awareness of animal welfare.

It encapsulated the problem faced by most animal shelters especially after New Year: that of dogs, bought as gifts, becoming unwanted.


Meet Marty! ? He's a small boy with a big personality! He enjoys the company of his human friends and going on short...

Posted by Dogs Trust on Sunday, December 22, 2019

One call every six minutes

However, the message, it would seem, is still not getting across after four decades. Dogs Trust, Ballymena - one of the charity's shelters in Northern Ireland - has once again reported a sharp rise of intakes in the weeks following Christmas.

Belfast Live reports that the shelter has received a call every six minutes on average about unwanted pets since reopening after New Year.

The problem continues almost unabated and, to make matters worse, buying a dog from an unknown online seller has never been easier. Yet every year hundreds of families who receive a dog as a present are unable or unwilling to take up the mantel of dog ownership.


Paddy is a sweet wee staffy who just loves snuggles! ? He's still pretty active for his age and loves his walkies...

Posted by Dogs Trust on Sunday, December 22, 2019

Homeless until wanted

That means that throughout the year thousands of dogs are poured back into the shelter system to await their fate. The lucky few will find their forever homes, but most will remain homeless.

If you are thinking about buying a dog for someone, at any time of the year, never buy on impulse. Additionally, always buy your animal from a reputable seller; look into the seller's credentials especially if they advertise on internet selling sites or social media.


Dog ownership is incredibly rewarding, it can also be incredibly hard work! So we've written a little song about it ??? Sing along if you've had these 'gifts' from your dog ?? ​#ADogIsForLife

Posted by Dogs Trust on Saturday, December 21, 2019

Be aware as well that pets are sometimes advertised in a misleading way. The Dogs Trust warns of sellers lying about an animal's history, breed or pedigree, and some breeds are prone to problems which require regular veterinary treatment.

Most importantly, you should know well the person for whom you are buying a dog: they must be prepared to commit to the dog's welfare and happiness for the life-time of the animal.

Read our articles for more tips and advice about buying a dog!