USPCA warns against giving pets as gifts this Christmas

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Animal welfare charity the USPCA are warning the public against giving pets as gifts this Christmas.

They warn that pet ownership is a big decision and so it should be carefully considered and researched instead of getting a pet as a gift.

USPCA Chief Executive, Brendan Mullan, said, “For the USPCA this is unfortunately something we come up against each year, as there is a seasonal demand for young animals such as puppies or kittens. Under no circumstances should a pet be taken in on a whim or as a surprise – these decisions, rooted in impulse, are unfortunately the actions that can cause animals to suffer if they do not receive the care they need.

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“We encourage the public not to get a pet in haste ahead of Christmas and instead give careful consideration to what responsible pet ownership involves and if they can fulfil their pet’s needs. Pets have such a wonderful impact on our lives through love and companionship, so it’s only right that we ensure we can reciprocate that, giving them a happy and healthy life.”

USPCA Chief Executive, Brendan MullanUSPCA Chief Executive, Brendan Mullan
USPCA Chief Executive, Brendan Mullan

The USPCA are also urging the public to be aware of illegal breeders this festive season.

Brendan added, “Unfortunately, there will be individuals ready to take advantage of people wishing to get a pup. Illegal breeders are motivated by one thing and one thing only – greed – they have no concerns for the welfare of your potential pup.

“The conditions in which these pups are raised are appalling, from overbred bitches, used and abused for profit, to the cramped and disease-ridden enclosures. No matter the temptation, please do not engage with these individuals. The message is out there, but we now need the public to take heed – we all have a vital role to play in helping end this horrific practice, otherwise it will remain a vicious cycle of cruelty and suffering.”

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The USPCA says if a person has done their research and decided they would like to take on the responsibility of a pet, they should look into a rescue organisation first. If they must buy from a breeder, the organisation offers the following advice:


-Always seeing a puppy with its mother and litter

-Not buying a pet from a car boot, the back of a van or a market stall

-Never agreeing to the suggestion of a ‘helpful’ meeting point

-Asking if the person is a registered commercial breeder, if so record the number from the Local Authority -Registration document

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-Enquiring about the pup’s health status including worming and parasites, inoculations etc. Get verifiable veterinary confirmation

-Obtaining a proper receipt

More information can be found at

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