With the season 7 finale of HBO‘s “Game of Thrones” just a few weeks away, most of the country is swept away with GoT fever. The show has an amazing fan-base, and has become one of the most popular series HBO has ever seen. Fans of the show are constantly hunting for new clues whenever a new trailer is released, or posting new fan-theories online at the end of the every episode. With all of that popularity there are a few downsides of course, and Peter Dinklage is calling out one of them in particular.
According to PETA, “Game of Thrones” has caused an increased demand for huskies, it’s believed that this is because of their physical similarities to direwolves. Adoring viewers are buying the dogs from pet stores and breeders (often naming them after their favorite characters), then—after realizing how much work and commitment are required to care for them—dumping them at shelters which are already overcrowded with dogs that need homes. Now, series star Peter Dinklage is teaming up with PETA to remind fans that dogs should be acquired only as family members and need to be looked after for a lifetime, and he’s urging those who are serious about expanding their family to adopt, never buy.
“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,” Dinklage says. “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. Please, please, 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.”
Two breed-specific rescue groups in Northern California have seen their numbers double over the last two years, and the U.K. has reported similar statistics since the show premiered in 2011.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that this isn’t the first time that a popular TV show or movie has led to an increased demand for the animals seen on screen. 101 Dalmatians, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Legally Blonde, and Men in Black all caused massive spikes in sales of the featured dog breeds, and many of these dogs were later abandoned at shelters by their ill-prepared guardians.
More than 6 million dogs and cats end up in animal shelters every year, and half of them are euthanized because there simply aren’t enough homes for them. PETA encourages everyone to adopt and never buy from breeders or pet stores, which contribute to the overpopulation crisis.
Dinklage, a longtime vegetarian who previously teamed up with PETA for a video about the meat industry, joins a long list of celebrities who have joined the group to promote kindness to animals, including Andy Serkis, Bryan Fuller, Gillian Anderson, and Game of Thrones co-star Lena Headey.
Fans of Dinklage can watch a trailer for his upcoming mystery sci-fi film “REMEMORY,” which will be free on Google Play before it hits theaters.