WXM Town CentreAn end to the “outdated practice” of giving pets as prizes is one step closer in Wales, after Wrexham Council became Wales’ third local authority to stop the practice on their land.

Wrexham Council have – following discussions with RSPCA Cymru -  confirmed that they will not grant licences to anyone planning on giving pets as prizes, including in the town centre and at local fairs; effectively banning the practice on their land.

Action follows a unanimous vote on the issue from all Councillors in Caerphilly last month; while Newport Council had also banned the practice.

The RSPCA say Wrexham Council have made an “important statement for the welfare of goldfish and other animals”, after banning a practice which can be detrimental to the welfare of the animals involved.

Between 2014, and 2018, a total of 24 incidents in Wales were reported to the RSPCA’s emergency line concerning the welfare of animals being given as prizes – of which 60% related to goldfish.

RSPCA Cymru is calling on all local authorities in Wales to act on pets as prizes. The charity ultimately hopes the Welsh Government will implement a Wales-wide ban on the giving of pets as prizes on all land across the country.

Lewis Clark, RSPCA public affairs adviser, said: “”The RSPCA is absolutely delighted that Wrexham Council has become the third local authority in Wales to ban the giving of pets as prizes.

“There’s increasingly big momentum on this issue, as more people appreciate how dangerous pets as prizes can be for welfare – particularly for goldfish. Wrexham has made an important statement for the welfare of goldfish and other animals.

“Adding any pet to the family should be a well-researched decision; not a spur of the moment decision after playing a game.

“Sadly, we know many pets won as prizes will die before getting back to their new homes, or shortly after. Ultimately, having animals as prizes like this actively encourages owners to take on pets in a spontaneous, ill-planned manner. This is an outdated practice that we need to see the back of in Wales.

“Wrexham Council’s ban will not only ensure pets aren’t given as prizes on the local authority’s land, but raise more awareness that this isn’t the way pets should be acquired. We urge other Councils to act, as the campaign for a Wales-wide end to the giving of pets as prizes continues to gather pace.”

Amanda Davies, town centre, markets & events manager from Wrexham Council, said: “We are more than happy to be part of this initiative by ensuring that no-one who puts on any event on council owned land in the town centre gives away pets as prizes.

“We’ve done this informally for some time and are very pleased that this is now a formal arrangement and part of our conditions of use. The practice is outdated and it’s not what visitors to the town centre want to see happening.”

This winter, the RSPCA expects to take in more than 10,000 animals in need. To help the RSPCA deliver vital supplies to thousands of abused, neglected and abandoned animals, visit www.rspca.org.uk/giftofkindness to Stock the Sleigh for the RSPCA – and watch your virtual gift fill up the sleigh with a grateful wag from Sprout the dog.