By Tom Connell
‘Give Socks Not Dogs’ to loved ones this Christmas – that is the plea from a Leeds animal welfare charity.
Leeds Dogs Trust is inundated every year in the post-festive season with people looking to re-home dogs given as presents.
In January and February 2016, the trust received 529 calls from people with unwanted dogs and took in 103 animals in January of 2016 compared with only 52 in March.
Kelly Walker introduced Megan and Kiara who are hoping to find a new home together this Christmas:
Matthew Howden, trust assistant operations manager, said it was difficult to find space for every dog in need after Christmas.
“We’re always busy here but there’s certainly a spike at Christmas. Right now we have no free kennels.
“It’s just a constant juggling act. We never want to have empty kennels because that would mean there’s a dog out there that might need shelter,” he said.
“However, you do have to be mindful that you want to have a few kennels free because there will be emergencies.”
The ‘Dogs are for life not just for Christmas’ slogan which lasted almost 30 years, has been replace by ‘Give Socks Not Dogs’ this year but the message remains the same. Mr Howden said giving dogs as presents was still ‘an absolute no no’.
“It’s not a good idea for a surprise present because everyone needs to be on board with the commitment they’re making.”
Peter Lange, from Leeds dog walking company Woof Woof Walkers, is expecting a busy new year after starting his business a few months ago.
He said: “It’s a double edged sword for me because I’m against people getting dogs for Christmas but I’m expecting a boost to the business after Christmas.”
If people are convinced a dog is a good option for them Leeds Dogs Trust have a huge range of options and will help potential dog owners find the perfect fit for them. More information is available at https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/our-centres/leeds/