THE saying ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ is one that rings out every year.

However, this message is still being ignored with many canine companions being abandoned and left to fend for themselves or perish after the festive season.

Someone who knows this better than anyone is Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) dog warden Laura Yeates.

Last year, one of the dogs she found wandering in the borough and rescued was a Staffie cross. Thankfully the dog, who Laura named Ivy, found a permanent home after going to a rescue centre.

This year, the borough council will be collecting any strays found over the Christmas period as normal, but there will be a limited returns service over the holiday period.

BDBC cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment, Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “It can be wonderful to have a new pet dog for Christmas, but we would urge people to think carefully before buying a pet as a gift. Please remember to make sure your dog is microchipped and is wearing a collar with the correct contact details on the tag to ensure that they can be reunited with their family as swiftly as possible in the event of them going astray.”

If your dog is lost, call the council on 01256 844 844.