Animals are not ‘commodities’ to be bought as impulse Christmas presents, a Catholic animal welfare group has warned.
Chris Fegan, Chief Executive of Catholic Concern for Animals (CCA), insisted that people who are interested in acquiring a companion animal should be taking time and care when doing so.
He also suggested making visits to animal shelters rather than commercial pet shops.
Mr Fegan’s comments came as CCA offered its congratulations to the RSPCA for their 2017 Christmas advert. Mr Fegan said CCA “fully supports the sentiment behind the advert regarding abandoned and neglected animals over the Christmas period”.
The RSPCA Christmas advert follows the story of an abandoned toy puppy named Woody.
The video, which has had more than 300,000 views online, shows the cuddly dog being thrown out among a pile of rubbish before he is rescued and taken in by the animal charity.
“This advert by the RSPCA highlights the very real risks involved in giving companion animals as ‘presents’ for Christmas,” Mr Fegan told The Universe. “Animals are not commodities like toys and people who are looking for a companion animal should always take great care and time in doing so and certainly not buy one at Christmas time on ‘impulse’.
“CCA would always recommend people visiting animal shelters and rehoming centres such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home when looking to acquire a companion animal rather than making a visit to a commercial pet shop,” he added.
“CCA would encourage everyone to watch the RSPCA Christmas advert and we have shared it ourselves via our Facebook and Twitter feeds.”
The advert has been released to raise awareness of the RSPCA’s Kindness at Christmas appeal, as it prepares to deal with 2,000 calls a day over Christmas.
Deborah Caffull, manager of the charity’s Birmingham animal centre where part of the film was shot, said: “While this video shows the tale of a toy dog – the sentiment behind the story is very real. We rescue, rehabilitate and re-home dogs just like Woody every day, all year round. This time of year is very busy for us as an animal rescue charity and everyone pulls together to help the animals that come into our care.”
The advert has been viewed more than 250,000 times on Facebook, 70,000 times on Twitter and 4,000 times on YouTube since it was released on Friday 1st December, the RSPCA said.
An acoustic cover of Simply Red song Stars, performed by RSPCA worker Lucy Ellie, is the soundtrack and is available for download.
Picture: Video grab issued by the RSPCA of their Christmas advert which follows the story of an abandoned toy puppy and which has racked up more than 300,00 views online.