It says one dog was "cruelly abandoned" earlier this month

The Dogs Trust saw spike in people looking to surrender dogs in the three weeks following Christmas.

It received 186 calls from people trying to relinquish their dog - a 22% increase on last year.

In one instance, it says a man dropped the lead of a young Jack Russell and drove away.

It says the dog, named PJ, was "cruelly abandoned" at the centre.

"The distressed dog watched from the car park as a man dropped his lead and drove away. With no other option, PJ was taken into the safety of Dogs Trust and is now looking for his forever family.

"PJ is suffering from a lack of confidence which could indicate that he missed out on socialisation in his early life as he is very quiet, spending most of his day in bed and is scared to meet other dogs and play the way a happy dog should."

Dogs Trust say PJ the Jack Russell was 'cruelly abandoned' at its centre | Image: Supplied

The charity launched their #PawsForThought campaign in November last year, where they urged the public to 'pause' and think twice before getting a dog for Christmas.

Catriona Birt, head of operations at the Dogs Trust, said: "It is painfully upsetting to see PJ, a friendly young dog being discarded in such a heartless way.

"PJ is a particularly sad case which highlights how important those early months are for a pup and how vital it is to make time to socialise and habituate your new arrival in their puppyhood and adolescence.

"Our care team here are helping PJ with basic training and confidence building, and showering him with love and affection. He is now recovering well from the incident and he is looking for a new family who will love him."