The phrase “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas” has been given new meaning after new figures revealed the number of animals being put down.
Figures collated by the Scottish Liberal Democrats show that one in nine unclaimed dogs have to be put down.
According to freedom of information data, Scottish local authorities found 12,530 lost or abandoned dogs in the past four years, of which 3,248 were re-homed and 395 put down, including 37 in Aberdeen.
Separate figures showed 92 recorded offences of cruelty to dogs in the past two years.
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said the idea that a dog is a “man’s best friend” often did not apply in the modern world.
“That 12,530 lost or abandoned dogs have been found by local authorities in the past four years is a poor reflection of the attitude of some to loyal friends,” he said.
“Whilst many of these are upsetting cases where families lose their pet, there are too many cases where dogs are subjected to brutal treatment.
“Our figures show that of those dogs which aren’t claimed by their owners, one in nine are put down. With 92 recorded offences of cruelty to dogs in the past two years, much more needs to be done to protect dogs and promote responsible dog ownership.
“These sad figures give genuine meaning to the phrase that dogs are for life, not just for Christmas.”
The sentiment was echoed by Aberdeenshire West SNP MSP Dennis Robertson, who stressed that too many people take on a dog over Christmas without knowing if they can look after it correctly.
Mr Robertson – whose guide dog Mr Q is well known around Holyrood – is passionate about making sure all dogs have a loving home.
“Dogs like Mr Q deserve to live in loving households which meet their needs – which is why everyone should pause for thought to consider whether they will be able to look after a dog properly before they commit to taking one in this Christmas.”