New homes are urgently needed for abandoned dogs due to a post Christmas influx.

Marsden-based centre the West Yorkshire Dog Rescue is desperate for caring pet lovers to come forward and help so it can begin to take in the untold number of unwanted pets that have been dumped by their existing owners.

Currently the Hey Farm centre, which looks after dogs in foster homes around the area, has no space to take in any more dogs.

The call comes after owner Kathy Trout received the first ‘heart-breaking’ call on Boxing Day morning, to ask her to take in a Cairn puppy bought only on Christmas Eve.

Kathy, said: “The person bought the puppy as an impulse buy while in a retail outlet in Leeds.

“She’d only gone there with the intention of buying Christmas cards.

“But sadly we just weren’t able to take it in because we were already full to capacity with 15 dogs and myself and foster carers all have the flu.

“The phone has never stopped ringing since then and I’ve just not been able to pick it up because I know there’s nothing we can do until we find new homes for our existing dogs.

“It’s very, very distressing when you know you can’t help.”

It is not the first year that Kathy and her team have been called so soon after Christmas.

She said: “Last year we had a similar call, fortunately we were able to take the puppy in.

“Sadly, it happens so often that I’m beyond being shocked any more.

“We get around 40 calls per day asking for us to take dogs. This increases to 70 in the three weeks before Christmas and continues right into the new year.

“First we get older dogs who are chucked out to make way for a younger dog bought for Christmas.

“Then from the end of January to February we get a huge flush of pups because people begin to realise they can’t handle the responsibility.

“Then around early summer even more Christmas puppies are sent our way because that’s when they start to chew things.”

The visitor centre at the West Yorkshire Dog Rescue in New Hey Farm, Marsden
The visitor centre at the West Yorkshire Dog Rescue in New Hey Farm, Marsden
 

She has asked for would-be adopters to get in touch as soon as possible via the centre’s website so that suitability checks can be carried out.

But she wants new owners to think carefully before taking on a dog, which can cost over £1,000 a year to keep.

Kathy, who is also looking for more foster carers to take in dogs temporarily, said: “It’s incredibly sad but people just don’t consider what’s needed to look after a dog.

“They shouldn’t get one without thinking about the next 16 years of a new dog’s life.

“They have to be financially secure to pay the vet bills, insurance etc and think if they will still be fit enough to look after a dog in several years time.

“The impact on a dog that is abandoned is large.

“They are very emotional animals who get deeply attached to their owners and so very upset if they are given away.”

To find out which dogs need homes and to find out more about adoption, click here.