North Clwyd Animal Rescue are bracing themselves for the sad reality of a throw away society, as more pets come into their care in the run up to Christmas.

Beth Hughes finds out how they’re targeting the biggest cause - ignorance

With Christmas on the horizon (sorry) it would be safe to say the spirit of kindness and generosity is warming people’s hearts as the day of gift-giving looms.

But one person who doesn’t like receiving things in the run up to Christmas is Nicky Owen, of North Clwyd Animal Rescue, in Trelogan, who said the months leading up to December 25 are the worst and busiest for the shelter.

“The summer holidays and the run up to Christmas are extremely busy, with kittens especially. We’re running out of spaces with kittens because people are not neutering them. Cats are going out having not been neutered, so we’re doing early neutering which is helping on our side.”

In a bid to curb the amount of irresponsible breeding and therefore pet-owning, Nicky and Janet Jones, a newcomer to the decade old sanctuary, are appealing to the public to be more pet-conscious, especially now as the season of luxury and gluttony is waiting open-mouthed to consume our needs and wants.

Nicky said: “We want people to be more responsible. Animals have early pregnancies - dogs can get pregnant at around nine months but it’s six months for kittens.

“We are fighting constantly to try and educate people. We work with local companies and schools to train people to be more responsible, and we hope it works.”

The dedicated animal keeper said that places like NCAR are “never-ending”, and that one day, she will come to work and “all the animals will be rehomed.”

She said: “It’s horrible that rescues are needed. But we are. We do what we can. I think we live in a throwaway society.”

In 1978, Nicky’s parents started an animal support centre but it wasn’t until 1995 that the whole centre merged into one of rescue.

Nicky said: “It used to be more dogs. People see them as easy pets, and take them on.

“We’ve seen a lot more rabbits - people decide to get them for their children who don’t realise how much work they make, and they put them in a little shed. We’re promoting rabbit welfare, saying look into it before you get a rabbit. They take quite a lot of looking after.”

Janet also said that people who move house don’t factor in their pets, and end up leaving their dogs, cats, or rabbits at their former property to fend for themselves.

She said: “Our main aim is to rehome. People use fostering as a way of getting a free pet and giving it back. In most cases, people who foster do fall for the dog,” a term the team call ‘failed fosters’ - or in our terms, “the animal has a home.”

At the moment, the most common dogs NCAR pick up are chihuahuas, pugs, American bulldogs - “all the little breeds,” Nicky said. “Then we have the other extremes like huskies - the staffies aren’t doing bad. Whatever the celebrities have, that’s what we know we’re going to get. And people aren’t being educated on what type of dog to get.

“A lot of people over-breed, and don’t let them develop properly and a lot of the problems are with their noses. That’s the way science works. People want to make the animal cuter, but for a French bulldog this means compromising a lot for it’s breathing. People are trying to humanise these dogs like babies.”

Janet agreed: “People are so guided by breeding. If they come here, the staff can explain how to look after them and say that things are suitable. The staff are so good. A lot of these little dogs, people don’t think they need exercise, but they do.”

The pair predicted, given current celebrity fads and fashions, that their rescue site will see a lot of French bulldogs. “They’re over-bred and it’s so horrible,” says Nicky.

Looking forward, the pair said social media is an “amazing thing” which helps portray their positive message that people can be kind and generous when it comes to animals. Janet adds: “It’s amazing what people can pull out of the bag.”

The company is appealing for funds to help with advertising, printing costs, and for any sponsors who are happy to get involved.

For Nicky, social media has grown from helping with smaller charity appeals and fundraising events, to bigger and life-saving things.

She said: “It’s mad how quickly it’s taken off. People used to put an advert in the paper about their lost dog or cat, but now it’s immediate. We can get the news out there. It’s shown a lot of people into our work, to share animal messages or apply for things that will help us.

“When we opened our vet clinic two years ago, Amazon Wishlist was amazing.

“We had a wishlist for equipment we needed, and we were donated operation tables, equipment and tools, bandages within a week. The response was phenomenal - without social media that would not have happened.

“Whatever we do, we always make sure what we raise goes back to the animals. We put their wellbeing first.”

Nicky said this week, NCAR have had lots of parcels arrive from Amazon Wishlist, including a rope slip lead, a big bag of 12 pigs ears for their dogs to enjoy, an anti-gulp bowl, a box of 24 pouches of pedigree dog meat, three hollings-filled bones and two snuggle safes.

“Each item gets put to immediate use in our kennels and catteries and we couldn’t continue to care for our animals without your help, so we are really grateful for every item that we receive, she said.”

For more information on the most important list for our four-legged friends this Christmas, visit