Plea to rehome dogs after 566 unwanted pets collected in Northern Ireland
Those considering buying a puppy for Christmas have been urged to wait until the New Year and instead rehome an animal that has been rescued.
The call came as it emerged that across Northern Ireland between April and September of this year, some 566 unwanted dogs were collected by staff working for local councils.
Heartbreakingly, 106 of these animals were not able to be rehomed and were destroyed.
In Belfast alone, council figures show that 19 unwanted dogs were collected between the same dates - five of which were put to sleep. Of the others, eleven were sent to shelters or animal organisations and three were sold.
East Belfast Green Party councillor Georgina Milne urged members of the public to consider rehoming previously unwanted pets as she handed over gifts and toys collected by members of her party for the animals of Assisi Animal Sanctuary near Bangor.
"Many people are aware of the slew of unwanted pets that fill animal shelters after the Christmas rush. However, the message still needs repeating - if you're thinking of getting a pet, consider waiting until a less emotional time of year and consider adopting from somewhere like Assisi, who have lots of pets who haven't been as lucky in finding a home and are patiently waiting to be taken home and loved," Ms Milne said.
"We've also recently been alerted to the surge in people buying puppies which have been illegally imported. These animals often have suffered terribly in the journey here, and many end up sick, dead or abandoned. Assisi always needs the help of volunteers and donations of money and food. If you want to give some four-legged friends a gift, contact them at 028 9181 2622."