A CHARITY which rescues and rehomes Labradors has warned of the risks of buying pets on the internet and urged against getting a new animal over Christmas.

The Labrador Lifeline Trust has reiterated its message about irresponsible web trading of the creatures - especially in the festive period.

Spokesman Anne Carter, speaking about web based purchases of pets: "It’s very risky. For one thing, you probably won’t get the medical records that you need. "You won’t know the real reason why the dog is being re-homed, either.

"I would also caution against buying puppies for Christmas.

"Too often people do it because they get carried away with the seasonal feeling.

"That wears off fast when they have to face the reality of looking after a lively young pup.

"So, these dogs end up being offered on the Internet or via social network sites."

The charity is appealing, however, for more fosterers and new homes in Buckinghamshire.

Janet Butler, the trust’s Area Co-ordinator for Bucks, said: "Foster homes are a marvellous alternative to kennelling, and we can never have too many of them."

The trust has successfully rehomed a number of dogs over the past two years in the area after it expanded its operations and after appeals in the Free Press and South Bucks Star.

Charity bosses have also made it easier to help the dogs they look after by a new sponsorship scheme, which they say is doing well so far.

Mrs Carter said: "Some of the Labradors we rescue have problems that need expensive care, and we pay for it.

"We carry on paying for it, too, even after they go to their new homes - and it can be expensive.

"To give you an example, £25 will just about pay for one hydrotherapy session or almost a month’s arthritis medication.

"So, it’s a huge help when someone sponsors a dog through a one-off donation or a monthly direct debit."

If you are interested in giving a new home to a labrador, fostering or joining the sponsorship scheme visit www.labrador-lifeline.co.uk.

Call 01923 446785 or email: janettebutler@aol.com