AN ANIMAL charity received eight calls a day about unwanted dogs in the month after Christmas last year.

And Dogs Trust Darlington is bracing itself for the post-Christmas rush of dogs this January.

Reasons people gave for wanting their animals rehomed last year included: "I'm a vegetarian but he always wanted to eat meat," and "He didn't like it when we played dress-up".

The charity is urging the public to remember its slogan, that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas, after a year of bizarre reasons offered by people giving up their dog.

Dogs Trust's Sadberge Rehoming Centre received 509 calls from people wanting to give up their dogs in the month following Christmas last year.

Other reasons included that the dog was panting too much and also that another slept in its own bed instead of the owner's.

To bring the message home the charity has created a video called “Why I left you” with a twist which highlights the carefree attitude which people sadly display towards dog ownership.

The charity’s iconic slogan has proved just as meaningful today as it was when first coined nearly 40 years ago as a survey showed 17 per cent of dog owners in the North-East spend less than two weeks researching before buying a dog and 1 in 5 people confessed to buying a dog simply because it was a cute accessory. The survey also revealed that 17 per cent of people admit to buying or receiving a dog as a Christmas gift.

Jake Flatman, Assistant Manager at Dogs Trust Darlington, said: “Dogs Trust take in thousands of much loved dogs from heartbroken owners who sadly find themselves unable to continue to care for their dogs due to unavoidable changes in their circumstances so it’s particularly hard for staff when they see the other end of the spectrum; dogs handed in simply because their owner’s bought them on a whim and consider them little more than toys to be discarded when the novelty wears off. "

To find out what to consider when getting a dog visit