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Last Updated: Saturday December 27 2008 14:09 GMT

Puppy given up on Christmas Day

Theo the Labrador puppy

The first unwanted puppy this Christmas was handed over to a rescue shelter on Christmas Day, a charity has said.

The Dogs Trust said a couple in Scotland had bought the puppy, called Theo, as a present to themselves but decided they couldn't look after him.

So they took Theo to the West Calder Rehoming centre in West Lothian where he is being cared for.

Staff at the centre are taking Theo home with them over Christmas, as they are worried he might get scared.

Susan Tonner, the rehoming centre manager at Dogs Trust, West Calder, said: "It is tragic that dogs are still being bought as Christmas gifts then abandoned so quickly.

"People give such little thought to the time and effort that is needed in looking after a dog.

Puppies need attention

"Puppies in particular are very time consuming and need a lot of attention in their first few months."

None of the Dogs Trust rehoming centres are letting people have dogs from them until 2 January (3 January in Scotland) to try to stop people buying them as Christmas presents.