Dogs Trust Ilfracombe has revealed the bizarre excuses why people gave up their dog last Christmas, including ‘he was a secret Santa’ and ‘he pants too much’.

‘He wasn’t a vegetarian’ or ‘he was a secret Santa present’ are just some of the reasons why people gave up their dogs in North Devon this year.

The bizarre excuses are just some of the 102 calls Dogs Trust Ilfracombe received after Christmas last year, as it braces for an influxes of unwanted dogs.

And those reasons are exactly why the charity is urging people to remember its iconic slogan: ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’.

The West Down-based Rehoming centre received three calls a day from people looking to give up their dogs in the month following Christmas last year.

Reasons over 2017 included ‘I’m a vegetarian but he always wanted to eat meat’, ‘I won a free holiday and I couldn’t take my dogs with me’ and ‘I got him as a secret Santa present’.

One dog was given up for ‘panting too much’ while another ‘didn’t like it when we played dress up’.

And other poor excuses included ‘She was too friendly and wanted to greet every dog and human we met on a walk’ and ‘She sleeps in her own bed all night – I thought she would want to sleep in my bed’.

The charity’s iconic slogan has proved just as meaningful today as it was when first coined nearly 40 years ago as a new survey reveals 22 per cent of dog owners in Devon spend less than two weeks researching before buying a dog, and one in 15 people confessed to buying a dog simply because it was a cute accessory.

The survey also revealed that one in 10 people admit to buying or receiving a dog as a Christmas gift.

The dog-owning public also significantly underestimated the financial cost of dog ownership with 72 per cent believing their dog will cost them less than the actual cost of £10,000 during its lifetime.

Elise Watson, rehoming centre manager at Dogs Trust Ilfracombe, said: “In the weeks following Christmas last year we received more than 100 calls from owners wanting to give up their dog.

“That is so sad as dogs deserve to be treated as a member of the family. They aren’t disposable commodities; they are a huge commitment and should be for life.”

“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.

“We really hope this Christmas is the year our nation of animal lovers finally takes heed of our slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and we don’t see dogs discarded because their owners have not considered the lifetime commitment of dog ownership.”

Dogs Trust urge anyone considering getting a dog to ensure they do their research to find a dog compatible with their lifestyle so they are fully aware of the realities of caring for a dog for the duration of its lifetime.

To find out more about what to consider when getting a dog and Dogs Trust work over the Christmas period visit: