Christmas puppy present warning

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Derry parents have been asked to tell children who want a puppy for Christmas of the 15 years of “exercising, feeding, grooming, training and cleaning up” that is part of looking after a dog.

Derry City Council’s Senior Environmental Officer Enda Cummins says anyone who may be thinking of buying a puppy needs to realise the responsibility that goes along with being a pet owner.

“The average lifespan of a dog is 15 years, so parents need to ensure that their children understand that owning a dog is a very long-term commitment.

“Children must be made aware that dogs demand a lot of time and are expensive to keep. Daily responsibilities include: exercising, feeding, grooming, training and cleaning up after your dog. Dogs also need company like humans and can get bored and lonely. Younger active dogs in particular need mental stimulation and constructive play.”

He says licensing is also considered to be an integral part of responsible dog ownership.

“All dogs, with the exception of guide dogs, must have a valid license. Before you get a dog or a puppy you must get a licence for it, it is a legal requirement. Additionally, it should be noted that since April 2012 it is no longer possible to license a dog without including a valid microchip number for your dog.”

“Licensing and micro-chipping would make a fantastic gift for your pet this Christmas as it helps our dog wardens reunite lost dogs with their owners.” Mr Cummins added.

More info is online at www.derrycity.gov.uk/Council-Services/Environmental-Health/Public-Health-Protection-Team.