MORE than 500 puppies bought as Christmas presents will be abandoned this month, animal welfare chiefs have predicted.
And a quarter will have to be destroyed at pounds.
As many as 400 dogs a month were handed in to animal rescue shelters or local authority pounds throughout 2012.
ISPCA chief executive Noel Griffin has warned that Christmas is the wrong time for families to get a puppy.
Mr Griffin said the ISPCA expected to see a spike of up to 40pc in the number of dogs being handed in or rescued this month.
"This is just not a good time to get a dog. There are a million things going on," he said.
"A pup that has just been taken away from its mother does not have a chance to bond with its owners. They can also get into bad habits.
"Dogs should never be abandoned, especially in January when it can be freezing – that seriously affects their chances of survival."
While the ISPCA was struggling to find new homes for rescued dogs here, there was a big demand for them in the UK.
Mr Griffin criticised the practice where thousands of dogs are being illegally trafficked from Ireland to the UK because of a shortage of pedigree puppies there.
The dog trade should be carried out in a proper manner with all of the proper procedures put in place, he said.
And he added that the ISPCA operated centres where dogs were not destroyed.
Mark Beazley, executive director of Irish welfare charity Dogs Trust, said: "The slogan of a dog being for life, not just for Christmas, is just as relevant today as it was when we created it many years ago.
"Some of the reasons we hear for dogs being abandoned are truly outrageous and saddening.
"Having a dog is a long-term commitment."