New figures showing a marked increase in the number of animals having to be put down have strengthened the annual message that a dog is for life and not just Christmas.
In a report collated for the Scottish Liberal Democrats one in every nine dogs found but not claimed by their owners has had to be put to sleep.
Councils throughout the country were canvassed under freedom of information regulations – and the results showed that there were 12,530 lost or abandoned dogs in the past four years.
The figures show that while 3248 of these were re-homed 395 were put down. The study also revealed that in the last two years there was 92 recorded offences of cruelty to dogs.
Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, said: “That 12,530 lost or abandoned dogs have been found by local authorities in the past four years is a poor reflection of the attitude to some loyal friends.
“While many of these are upsetting cases where families lose their pet, there are too many cases where dogs are subjected to brutal treatment.
“Our figures show that of those dogs which are not claimed by their owners one in every nine are put down.
“These sad figures give a genuine meaning to the phrase that dogs are for life and not just Christmas.”