The Rainbow Centre in Derry has urged local people to think carefully about pet ownership to avoid becoming part of the “sad cycle” of unwanted or abandoned animals.
The appeal was issued as the Rainbow volunteers reflected over 2015 and looked forward into the new year.
Hundreds of dogs and cats have been given a second chance over the past year due to the dedication of the team at Rainbow and those who have supported them throughout the year.
Speaking about the organisation’s work over the past 12 months, a spokeswoman for Rainbow said: “In 2015 we were inundated with calls, e-mails and Facebook messages from owners seeking our charity to re-home their pets, many of the calls were from our local city and surrounding areas whilst others contacted from further afield.
“Many of the dogs that came into our care were rescued from our local council dog pound, where we visit each week to rescue what we can and offer the remaining dogs a chance of a lifeline. We photograph them and share their pound appeal on our busy Facebook page.
“In January 2015 we met a nursing mother and her three puppies on one of our visits that had all been surrendered as unwanted pets. We offered them a rescue space and all four went to one of our brilliant foster homes and later all three puppies found their forever homes. Their mother came to the centre and a few months later she too found her forever home. Now known as Angel she is loved and adored by her family and is one of the dogs to feature in the 2016 annual Rainbow calendar.”
Local people have been urged to consider the lifelong commitment before bringing an animal home.
“We would argue the public to educate and research the animal they are considering offering a home to, and if considering a specific breed to research the breed,” the spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman added that many kittens at the centre came from cats that people have been feeding for some time but had not neutered.
“Come Spring 2016 the continuous added pressure of the volumes of little kittens and nursing mothers needing our help as always will be extreme,” she said.
To help the charity, which receives no central funding, see details of Rainbow’s Christmas Wish Appeal on the notes section of The Rainbow Rehoming Centre Facebook page or purchase its annual calendar (£5) available at Jollyes, Pets at Home, the Rainbow Charity Shop Waterloo Place and The Rainbow Centre Ballygudden Road, Eglinton (full list in the notes on its Facebook page or website).