Scotland’s animals charity is urging Falkirk area residents to “consider the dangers” of buying a pet as a Christmas present - particularly on impulse or as a surprise gift.
The SSPCA even stops rehoming puppies, kittens and baby animals between 19December and January 3 every year to avoid people adopting pets to give as gifts, but all its rescue and rehoming centres are open for the public to visit throughout the festive period (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and January 1 and 2).
Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Every year we emphasise that animals should not be an impulse buy or purchased as a surprise present.
“People have to give serious consideration to the commitment they are making when they buy a pet.
“Sadly, we are all too familiar with being asked to take in puppies, kittens and other pets given as gifts when the novelty has worn off.
“Animals are abandoned and as well being extremely cruel this is a criminal offence”.
He added: “We are also aware of people in the past who have brought an elderly dog to us before going to pick up a new puppy, and sadly this is more common than most would expect.”
“The message we are trying to share is that people should make sure they understand the commitment needed to give a pet the care and attention it needs before buying one.
“We want all animals to find their forever home and owning a pet is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it is important that potential owners have a full understanding of the dedication required to look after an animal.”
Anyone concerned about the welfare of an animal should contact the SSPCA helpline on 03000 999 999.