The Scottish SPCA has warned the public against giving pets for Christmas this year.
The animal welfare charity’s rescue and rehoming centres have stopped rehoming animals over the festive period in an effort to stop people taking an animal home as a gift.
Whilst the centres will remain open over the Christmas period, it will not be possible to rehome an animal between 19 December and 3 January.
Animal rescue and rehoming superintendent, Sharon Comrie said: “Each year we care for unwanted animals that were given as gifts and the novelty has worn off. People should consider the commitment they are making when taking on any animal.
“Animals need attention, care and love which is a life-long obligation. Food, veterinary treatment and toys to provide mental stimulation can be very costly so there is also the financial commitment to think about with any pet.”
She added: “In the worst cases, unwanted pets can be abandoned. This is a criminal offence, and needless to say, extremely distressing for the animal.
“It’s not just young animals that come to us, older animals can be discarded to make way for new ones. People in the past have brought an elderly dog to us before going to pick up a new puppy and sadly this is more common than you would expect.
“We would like to ensure everyone, animals included, have a wonderful Christmas. But, we want to ensure this happy ending extends to the rest of the animal’s life, not just the weeks after.”