Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage has pleaded with fans who love the direwolves that appear on the show not to buy husky dogs.
“If you’re going to bring a dog into your family, make sure that you’re prepared for such a tremendous responsibility.”
Direwolves, giant husky-like wild dogs, have appeared in the hit HBO fantasy series since its first season when five pups were adopted by the children of nobleman Ned Stark, played by Sean Bean.
Game of Thrones’ incredible popularity has resulted in a surge in demand for the dogs, but many have been abandoned by owners who have found themselves unable to care for the energetic breed.
Peter, who plays diminutive nobleman Tyrion Lannister in the show, has asked fans not to buy huskies without researching their needs first.
“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,” the 48-year-old actor said in a press release issued by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “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.”
In 2014, bosses at British animal charity Blue Cross, who provide homes to unwanted and ill pets, reported a 700 per cent increase in abandoned huskies in comparison to figures compiled before the show’s 2011 debut. Animal rescue groups in the U.S. have also seen the huskies in their care double in recent years.
Peter said a better alternative for dog lovers is to adopt a pet from a rescue shelter.
“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,” he added.
Game of Thrones’ seventh season continues on HBO on Sunday, Aug 20.