Kennel staff in Portsmouth say they've seen a massive increase in the number of abandoned dogs thrown out over Christmas, included a pregnant dog whose five pups are now looking for a home.
A total of 36 stray and abandoned dogs have been housed by Portsmouth City Council kennels between December 14 and January 18 and there are still some 19 dogs in the kennels.
Kennel assistant Carole Plumbly said:
"In the seven years I've worked in the kennels this has been the busiest Christmas I've ever experienced.
"We've had five pregnant dogs deliberately abandoned in the last two months alone, and before that I'd only seen two in seven years.
"It's so sad to this number of unwanted of dogs but people need to consider what having a dog means before they take one into their homes.
"They don't realise how they will grow in size and the costs and care involved in looking after a dog."
Roxy the mum of the pups is a little terrier collier mix and her five pups were born on December 8th. They they will be ready to go to a new home in the next three to four weeks.
Two little poddle mixes are also waiting for a new home. Carole explained:
"They were left in our kennel van the weekend before last and it's obvious they are only about 12 weeks old and must have been unwanted Christmas presents.
"They are lovely and lively but double trouble.
"We are also looking for an extra-special home for a lovely little Cavalier King Charles who had been deliberately dumped in some public toilets.
"He's not very old about three or four, but has very little vision and is almost deaf.
"But he responds so well to us and has got a wonderful personality so I hope we find a very caring home for him."
Councillor Eleanor Scott is cabinet member for Environment at Portsmouth City Council, She said:
"It's very sad that so many dogs have been abandoned in the city over Christmas time.
"They are safe and sound with our kennel staff now but let's hope we can find them loving, responsible and permanent homes.
"I absolutely agree with Carole and urge people to think long and hard about taking on the responsibility of owning a dog because it is a major commitment in terms of time and money."
Anyone interested in offering a dog a home can call the kennels on (023) 9266 2228. Prospective owners will be asked to take part in an assessment to make sure dog and person are correctly matched.