AN animal welfare and rescue charity is urging people in Clydebank to be aware of the pitfalls of buying a pet for Christmas.

The Scottish SPCA stops rehoming over the festive period each year to avoid people taking an animal home as a gift.

It won’t be possible to rehome a young animal from the Scottish SPCA between December 19 and January 3. All of the centres are still open for the public to visit.

Judy Button, acting manager of the Dunbartonshire Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre, said: “Each year we care for unwanted animals that were given as gifts and the novelty has worn off.

“People should consider the commitment they are making when taking on any animal.

“Animals need attention, care and love which is a life-long obligation.

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“Food, veterinary treatment and toys to provide mental stimulation can be very costly, so there is also the financial commitment to think about with any pet.”

Judy added: “In the worst cases, unwanted pets can be abandoned. This is a criminal offence, and needless to say, extremely distressing for the animal.

“It’s not just young animals that come to us, older animals can be discarded to make way for new ones. People in the past have brought an elderly dog to us before going to pick up a new puppy and sadly this is more common than you would expect.

“We would like to ensure everyone, animals included, have a wonderful Christmas.

“But, we want to ensure this happy ending extends to the rest of the animal’s life, not just the weeks after.”

Anyone who would like advice on rehoming or caring for a pet should contact the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.