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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 January, 2004, 12:10 GMT
Pets 'thrown away' over Christmas
Many older pets were turned out to make way for new ones
More than 600 cats and dogs were abandoned in Scotland during the festive period, animal welfare officials have revealed.

The SSPCA said it believed that many families turned older pets out to make way for new kittens and puppies.

The charity also said that reports of cruelty to animals received from members of the public had risen.

A public appeal is now being made to help rehome the hundreds of animals languishing in welfare centres.

First strike

The figures were revealed in a report prepared by the society for its members.

It said that, with many families getting new kittens, puppies and rabbits, older pets had been turned out into the cold or left on the doorsteps of welfare centres.

Animal cruelty cases were also high, with one caller to the SSPCA's helpline reporting that he could hear, through a wall, a pup being battered in the house next door.

The society already has a campaign called First Strike which investigates the links between violent behaviour towards humans and towards animals.

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