Council urges caution over dogs as gifts this Christmas

December 15, 2020

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council would like to urge everyone who is thinking about a puppy or dog as a Christmas gift, to stop and think before doing anything. 

Please don't make it a surprise gift - Talk to the recipient and find out if they're ready to commit as much as 15 years of their life to caring for a new family member.

The Christmas period can be an unsettling time in the home and is not ideally suited to introducing any new pet to a family.  Please think carefully before giving a dog a home at Christmas as sadly we often find dogs are abandoned after the first few weeks or months in a new home.

If you have decided that your family is ready to take on a dog the council’s Enforcement Officers would ask that you consider the following points:

  • Do you have a secure garden?
  • How old are your children?
  • Do you have time to exercise your dog?
  • Can you afford to keep it?
  • Will you be a responsible dog owner?

Pets come with responsibilities.  All animals should have constant access to clean fresh water, a regular supply of good wholesome food, a clean sleeping area and freedom to move around their own property as much as possible. Depending on the dog’s breed, it should receive between 30 to 60 minutes exercise every day.

If the dog becomes stressed it will behave in a way to attract human attention, for example barking, biting, chewing, chasing, digging and forgetting its house training.  These behavioural signs are an indication that a dog is not at ease with its environment. There are ongoing financial costs to keeping a dog including buying pet food, regular vet checks or veterinary treatment for injuries or disease.

If after reading this you still plan to buy a dog as a Christmas present and you can ensure you can walk, care and feed your dog daily and afford to pay veterinary bills, grooming and food bills then you should be able to have a well behaved companion who is content and happy.

If your children are asking for a puppy, consider yourself as the dog owner, not the children. You could take them to a sanctuary - instead of buying a puppy, adopt a homeless dog.

The council dog pound at Nutts Corner Boarding Kennels, Dundrod Road, Crumlin is a temporary home for stray or abandoned dogs.  It has a selection of dogs that need a loving home. There are also older dogs available that may be easier to settle instead of introducing a new puppy into your home. There are plenty of options available to those looking to rehome a dog.

You can view them by visiting our dog pound at Nutts Corner Boarding Kennels, 18 Dundrod Road, Crumlin.  It is open between 11am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 12noon on Saturday.  Please make an appointment with the staff at Nutts Corner as dropping in is not possible at this time.

If you believe you can care for a dog then remember to buy a dog licence.  This is your first step to being a responsible dog owner.  A licence costs £12.50 or £5 if you are entitled to a reduced fee licence.  Residents within the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area can apply for a dog licence online at