An adorable pup has become the first dog to be dumped in 2018 after its owner bought him online and then became homeless.
Eight-week-old mongrel Ronnie was left at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London on January 2 after he was given as a Christmas present.
The poor pup became the first unwanted pet to be dropped off at the rescue so far this year after his owner lost their home and was unable to look after him.
Ronnie is undergoing medical checks, with Battersea telling MailOnline that the pup is currently staying with staff member Alice Holt, but could be ready for rehoming by next week.
She told MailOnline: ‘Ronnie has only been at home with me for one night but he is settling in so well.
‘He’s so affectionate, even with new people, and loves a cuddle and a fuss. He also loves playing with toys and running around the kitchen. He’s such a sweet boy.’
Home intake manager Steven Craddock said: ‘It doesn’t shock any of us that the first dog through our doors in 2018 was bought online.
‘Ronnie is just one of many thousands of dogs who will be bought off an unregulated website in the coming months and end up in a home where the owner is unprepared and unable to take proper care of them.
‘His new owner did the right thing by bringing him into us where we can look after him and find him a loving new home, which we doubt will take long as he’s such a lovely boy.
‘However, this doesn’t change the fact that he should never have been sold online in the first place.
‘We believe he may have been taken from his mother far too young and likely sold by a breeder with absolutely no regard for his welfare.
‘It’s so easy to sell a dog online and this is one of the biggest challenges that Battersea faces today.’
It comes as Battersea launched their In From The Cold fundraising campaign in order to help stray pets this winter.
Over 20,000 pets in the UK will be abandoned over the course of this winter, with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home looking after 550 dogs at any given time.
Mr. Craddock added: ‘I’d encourage anyone thinking of welcoming a new pet into their lives to consider rescue over shopping online.’
Ronnie is now undergoing an assessment at Battersea and will be vaccinated and microchipped before he is ready to go to a loving new home.
Dogs and cats walk in and out of the Battersea center every day, with 2018 proving to be yet another busy for the team in south London.
In fact, 899 Staffies alone were left at Battersea in 2016 – 53 percent more than the next most left breed, mongrels, at 425.
Since New Year’s Day, the Battersea team have welcomed four more additions – one of which is the young pup, Ronnie.
Charlotte, a British Shorthair, was the first cat to arrive at the London Battersea site on New Year’s Day. The 5-month-old was sadly being advertised for free online until her owners brought her to the animal shelter.
Buddy Bear, a Bengal cat, arrived at the London Battersea site the next day after his owner could no longer look after him due to having a baby.
And then there is Lexi, a three-year-old Beagle which arrived at Battersea’s sister site in Brands Hatch on Wednesday.
His owners separated and could no longer find the time to look after him. He is undergoing assessment and medical checks before finding a new home.
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