A pet shop chain has apologised after a promotional poster encouraging people to buy pets for Christmas caused uproar.
The poster by Jollyes Petfood Superstores which reads, ‘Pets make great Christmas presents’ was widely criticised by customers on social media.
The main complaint was that the poster promoted people buying pets just for Christmas and promoted irresponsible pet ownership.
A spokesman for Jollyes Petfood Superstores said they were ‘embarrassed’ by the poster in their Bedford Alban Retail Park store and released a statement on their Facebook page
It read: “After being notified by a customer that a poster was put on display in one of our stores that gave an irresponsible message and showed poor judgement we took immediate action in having it removed and have launched an internal investigation as to why this happened.
“The store intended to promote responsible pet ownership by highlighting that animals should be given time to settle into a new home, however the wording chosen to headline the notice certainly sends an incorrect message to our customers.
“Purchasing a new pet is not a decision that should be taken lightly, and throughout our website and our stores we offer advice and guidance to all new and potential pet owners so that our customers are able to make informed decisions regarding owning and purchasing a pet.
“Thank you once again for bringing this matter to our attention, we would like to reiterate that this was an isolated incident and again would also like to apologise for any upset this may have caused anyone.”
Animal charity, the RSPCA urges anyone thinking of purchasing a pet as a Christmas present to consider the long-term commitment required to properly care for an animal.
A spokesman said: “People considering giving a pet for a present should take into account whether the recipient has the time and money to care for the animal 365 days of the year for the next 10-20 years.
“Factors to consider include daily grooming, feeding and exercise and ongoing costs such as vets bills and registration fees.
“If you are confident that a pet is the right present, the RSPCA recommends visiting a rescue centre with the potential new owner so they can pick out the pet which will be best suited to their particular lifestyle.”
Every year, animals are abandoned when the novelty of having a pet wears off. The charity is calling on pet owners to do the right thing and contact the appropriate organisations for help should the burden to look after a pet becomes too much.
The spokesman said: “Pets are a lifelong commitment. Consider carefully before purchasing a pet as a present to ensure that this pet will be loved for life.”