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Games of Thrones star Peter Dinklage is putting out a message to fans of the show asking them to stop buying huskies.
The star, who has been reported by some sources as being vegan, wants to see people adopt rather than buy animals.
Fans have been rushing to breeders to buy the dogs, who resemble the show’s ‘direwolves’, then naming them after their favorite characters.
But there is a dark side to the trend: after realising how much work and commitment are required to care for the animals, people are ditching them – dumping them at shelters already bursting at the seams with homeless dogs.
Now Dinklage – who plays Tyrion Lannister in the hit series – has teamed up with animal rights charity PETA to ask people to adopt not shop when it comes to companion animals.
He said: “Please, to all of Game of Thrones‘ many wonderful fans, we understand that due to the direwolves’ huge popularity, many folks are going out and buying huskies.
“Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned – as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs.
“Please, please, if you’re going to bring a dog into your family, make sure that you’re prepared for such a tremendous responsibility and remember to always, ALWAYS, adopt from a shelter.”
UK-based animal-rescue centres have reportedly seen a 700 per cent increase in abandoned huskies since GoT hit screens in 2011.
In the US, two breed-specific rescue groups in Northern California have seen their numbers double over the last two years.
A spokesperson for PETA said: “This isn’t the first time that a popular TV show or movie has led to an increased demand for the animals seen on screen.
“101 Dalmatians, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Legally Blonde, and Men in Black all caused massive spikes in sales of the featured dog breeds, and many of these dogs were later abandoned at shelters by their ill-prepared guardians.
“Every year, hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats end up in animal shelters across the UK, and many have to be euthanised simply because there aren’t enough good homes for them.
“PETA encourages everyone to adopt and never buy from breeders or pet shops, which contribute to the overpopulation crisis.”