THEY are the musthave pets for celebrity fashion followers – but only as long as they remain trendy.
Yet as soon as their showbiz owners move on to the next big thing these animals become “fashion victims”.
Now staff at Southampton’s Blue Cross charity are concerned that pets are being dumped because owners are trying to ape their favourite celebrities, such as Paris Hilton.
As so-called trendy pets fall out of favour, the centre is seeing a rise in the number of those animals being dumped.
Among its apparent fashion victims are one-year-old husky dog Skylet and 18- month-old French bulldog Joey.
Now the centre in Bubb Lane, West End, is urging people to think about the commitment involved in getting a pet.
The charity says in recent years there has been an unmistakable trend in “fashionable”
breeds being given up once the trend has passed.
Nationwide its centres have seen a five-fold increase in the number of wolf-like breeds, such as huskies, given up following the success of the Twilight films and television show Game of Thrones and this is reflected locally.
In Southampton the number of husky type breeds given up, including Siberian huskies and Alaskan malamutes, rose from none in 2008 to eight last year.
The centre has also seen an increase in “handbag dogs” – pooches that fit in a handbag – with none in 2008 and five in 2013.
Nationally there were just ten in 2008 compared to 52 in 2013.
The Blue Cross is predicting that new celebrity favourite and dog du jour, the French bulldog, could be the next pet fashion victim.
A l t h o u g h numbers of this dog are still small, the charity has already taken in two French bulldogs in recent weeks, one of them in Southampton, compared to just five in total in the last five years.
Other trendy pets include status staffies and film inspired pets such as Finding Nemo clown fish or Harry Potterinspired snowy owls.
Even Kate and William, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge taking on a cocker spaniel dog Lupo in 2012 had a knock-on effect later in the year with double the number handed in to the charity nationwide from the previous year.
Lara Alford, Southampton Blue Cross rehoming centre manager, said: “Sadly, the ‘have-it-now’ attitude of today’s consumer society seems to be the same whether you are buying a handbag or a dog.
“We see so many animals given up because their owners didn’t realise how much time and effort it takes to care for them.
“Even though they are small and cute, French bulldogs, like all dogs, still need exercise and training and huskies need lots of exercise and experienced owner.
“If you are inspired by a celebrity pet, please make sure you do your research first to make sure you do have the time and lifestyle for a pet and that they are the right one for you.”
If you can give either Skylet or Joey a new loving home call the centre on 0300 777 1560.