Dogs abandoned for not matching furniture

Irresponsible pet owners have abandoned their dogs because they did not match their furniture, an animal charity said today.

Others complained their dog had to go because its different-coloured eyes made it look too much like the singer David Bowie, according to the Dogs Trust.



One set of owners trying to get rid of their current pet because it was "too old" even asked staff at one of the trust's rehoming centres for a younger model.



The excuses were revealed as the trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, listed the 10 most irresponsible reasons people have given for abandoning their dogs.



Thirty years on since the charity made famous the trademarked slogan "A dog is for life not just for Christmas", people are dumping their pets for the flimsiest of reasons - even over the festive period.



One dog was given up for eating the Christmas turkey, while another lost its home because it opened its owners' presents on Christmas Eve.



Another was abandoned because its owner accidentally knelt in its urine while cleaning up after the animal.



The trust said that although the number of dogs given as gifts has fallen over the past three decades, they amount to 131,400 animals each year.



And with the opening of "stop-and-shop" puppy superstores, people are still taking on the responsibility of dog ownership without enough consideration of what it entails.



In an effort to stop people thoughtlessly buying dogs as Christmas presents, the trust's 17 centres will stop rehoming dogs over the festive period.



People will be able to visit and reserve a dog, but they will not be able to take it home until the New Year.



Clarissa Baldwin, chief executive of Dogs Trust, said: "The 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas' slogan is just as relevant today as it was when I created it 30 years ago.



"Some of the reasons we hear for dogs being abandoned are truly outrageous and saddening.



"Having a dog is a long-term commitment and our anniversary offers the perfect opportunity to remind people that dogs are not fashion accessories or disposable items that can be upgraded or discarded after just a few months."



The trust cares for more than 16,000 stray, unwanted and abandoned dogs each year and carries out rigorous checks to make sure the dogs are rehomed to responsible owners.



* The 10 most irresponsible reasons given to Dogs Trust staff as to why owners could no longer look after their dog are:



1. "My dog doesn't match the sofa."



2. "The dog looks evil and has different coloured eyes, just like David Bowie."



3. "My black dog doesn't match the new white carpet, can we swap him for a white dog?"



4. "My current dog is too old, can we swap for a puppy or younger model?"



5. "My dog ate the Christmas turkey cooling on the work-top."



6. "My pet guinea pig got worried with a dog in the house."



7. "The dog opened all the presents on Christmas Eve."



8. An owner accidentally knelt in the dog's urine while cleaning it up so brought the dog in the very next day.



9. A puppy was bought as a present for an elderly couple with dementia.



10. The owner was paranoid about recent bad press on Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and the dog was given up through no fault of its own.

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