The Rainbow Rehoming Centre in Derry has warned that it is being inundated with calls from people seeking to give up their pet dog.
The Centre said that on Tuesday alone this week, it had 18 different people calling to ask if the centre could take in their pet - the majority of the inquiries came from Derry City.
Carly Russell, Animal Care Assistant with the Eglinton-based charity said: “On Tuesday pretty much every time we lifted the phone it was someone was looking to rehome a pet.
“These were different people from all different walks of life and all different types of dogs, Labs, Huskies, Malamutes and even a small house dog.
“There was a huge increase in November and December last year too in the period before Christmas. We are annoyed that we cannot take them all but we only have limited spaces. We are pretty full at the minute. In fact we are pretty full all year round.”
Ms Russell said there seems to be a variety of reasons or excuses for this, ranging from people in genuine need because landlords will not accept pets, to those who did not research the dog they were taking in, or understand the commitment needed in taking on a pet.
“A pet is for life and there’s people who don’t seem to grasp that,” she said. Mostly the calls we are getting range from Derry to Strabane and Omagh and there’s a big problem in Donegal too. We would get a lot of calls from Inishowen too. And in the past we have also had calls from Belfast and Newry and even Dublin.”
The woman added that the majority of unwanted pets involved larger dog breeds. The popularity of husky and wolf-like breeds of dogs following their appearance on shows such as ‘Game Of Thrones’ is thought to have contributed to the sharp increase in the number of such large breeds needing rehomed.
Ms Russell said: “People don’t seem to realise when buying that cute, fluffy puppy that they are going to grow into big dogs and it’s a life-time commitment, 15 years or more for a large breed. People have to think: are you going to be able to look after it?
“Malamute and huskies have become extremely popular in the last couple of years. People get these ideas into their heads that they want these particular breeds of dogs, but this particular breeds are very high energy- if you are not taking that dog out for at least an hour a day you are going to see destruction in the house.