'Game of Thrones' fans buying huskies; then abandoning them

Pop culture often inspires pet seekers

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Inspired by the direwolves of "Game of Thrones," fans of the HBO series are getting -- and abandoning -- huskies at animal rescues around the world.

“Game of Thrones” fans have been taking home huskies -- because they resemble direwolves, the canine companions in the HBO series -- and later abandoning them.

A British animal charity saw a 700 percent uptick in the breed being abandoned by 2014, the San Francisco Gate reported. That’s three years after the show began.

Two Bay Area husky rescue facilities saw a similar jump in unwanted huskies, the Gate reported. Both rescues said their numbers go up after a dog-related movie is released, too.

A pet inspired by "GoT" is often named after the characters, the Gate reported.

"It's really becoming a huge problem," said Angelique Miller, president of NorSled, told the Gate. "These people, they watch these shows and think how cool these dogs are. People can't even tell the difference between a husky and a wolf because they're always asking us at adoption fairs if these dogs are wolves — and it's clearly a husky. They're just following the trend of what they think is cute."

Pop culture has long inspired pets -- many of which are cute on screen but extremely difficult to raise in real life, Salon reported. After "Harry Potter?" Owls. "101 Dalmatians?" You guessed it. Dalmatians, dogs that also tend to not get along with kids.

"Finding Nemo" is even credited with a spike in kiddos flushing their recently-acquired clown fish down the the toilets to free them, imitating the title character’s brave escape in the animated film, Salon reported.

Steve Burdo, a spokesman for Contra Costa Animal Care Services, offered some advice for prospective pet seekers.

"Bringing an animal into your house is a great improvement in your quality of life, they become members of your family and we certainly encourage everybody to find that companion for them," Burdo told the Gate. "We want to make sure that people just don't jump into it, that if they're interested in a particular breed, that's awesome."

Research is important, Burdo told the Gate. "We just want them to study up first, learn as much as they can, in the case of a husky or Samoyed that's a little more temperamental, they're prepared for that and they know what the resources are."