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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 17:06 GMT
Charity reports influx of dogs
NCDL Dogmobile
Last year 8,000 dogs were rescued by the NCDL
The National Canine Defence League (NCDL) has warned that its animal centre in Bridgend, south Wales, is taking in more abandoned dogs than ever before.

The organisation has urged people to think carefully before buying someone a pet for Christmas.

One year someone turned up with three puppies in a box wrapped in Christmas paper

Sarah McKay, NCDL Bridgend
Sarah McKay, assistant manager of the Bridgend centre, said they had already accepted 50 dogs in the last month, only about half for genuine reasons.

"We start getting problems from mid-November when people bring us older dogs to make way for puppies at Christmas.

"We always get at least one litter brought in on Christmas morning," she added.

"One year someone turned up with three puppies in a box wrapped in Christmas paper."

Sarah McKay of the National Canine Defence League
Sarah McKay with Nutmeg
Six people will be staffing the NCDL centre over Christmas to take delivery of abandoned or unwanted dogs.

The centre will reopen to prospective dog owners offering new homes on 2 January.

Cardiff Council has also reported a record number of abandoned dogs at its animal pound.

Aroud 120 dogs are being given safe shelter there over the holiday period.

Microchipping service

Just up the road in the south Wales valleys, Rhondda Cynon Taff Council has offered a cut-price service to fit dogs with microchip identity tags for 6.

The number of dogs impounded by the council's animal wardens has fallen by 10% in each of the last two years.

Andrew Young, the council's acting head of public health and protection, said the microchips had definitely helped.

"Often when we collect stray dogs we cannot return them because they are not tagged," he said.

"Unfortunately only a third of the owners come forward to reclaim their dogs, " he added.

"We are anxious to increase the number of dogs that are microchipped and for that reason we are promoting our subsidised scheme at this special time of year."

BBC Wales's Sian Lloyd
"Councils want people to think twice about buying a pet for Christmas"
See also:

17 Aug 01 | Wales
Charity's stray dog plea
29 Jun 01 | UK
Be a dog for a day
31 Mar 01 | Europe
Greek dogs find Olympic hero
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