A SCHEME has been launched to cut down on the number of animals becoming unwanted Christmas gifts.
The RSPCA Animal Centre, near Chester-Le-Street, is encouraging support for its Safe Haven initiative.
Instead of buying at Christmas, people are urged to sponsor instead, something such as a kennel, cat pen or stable.
“Pets don’t make good presents – but sponsoring a safe haven for those in our care definitely does,” said community fund-raising manager Ashleigh Wilson.
“We often have children coming into reception pleading with their parents to buy a horse.
“But we hope that by sponsoring one, they will learn more about them and have the opportunity to visit them, without actually having the responsibility of owning one.”
Andrew Jones, a visitor to the centre, said: “It is very worthwhile.”
For details about the Safe Haven scheme call 0300 123 8851.