Game of Thrones has gained a huge following since it first hit the screen, and fans can’t get enough. But the show’s extremely popular direwolves have sparked an alarming trend: There’s an increased demand for Siberian huskies (who look similar to the mystical wolves), and their owners are surrendering them to already overcrowded shelters after realizing how much work and commitment it takes to care for them. GoT star and longtime vegetarian Peter Dinklage teamed up with PETA to share an important message with fans:

“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. “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.”

Here’s the deal: Thronies are naming these huskies, who they bought at pet stores or from breeders, after their fave GoT characters and later taking them to animal shelters when they get tired of caring for them. </3 Two breed-specific rescue groups in Northern California have taken in twice as many huskies as usual in the last two years, and the U.K. has also seen similar statistics since the show first aired in 2011.

As Dinklage explains, “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.”

GoT’s direwolves are awesome animals: They are super-loyal, can read the mind of their human companion, and fiercely protect those they love. So, we get how welcoming an animal who resembles them into your home has HUGE appeal. However, huskies require lots of love and attention, and taking care of an animal companion is a huge responsibility. Simply put, this isn’t a casual puppy love situation.

There’s a homeless-animal overpopulation crisis in the U.S. Each year, more than 6 million dogs and cats enter shelters, and half of them are euthanized because there aren’t enough homes for them. And buying a husky from a breeder or a pet store prevents many dogs in shelters from finding a loving home.

Dinklage, who previously teamed up with peta2 for a video about the meat industry, is part of a long list of celebrities—including his GoT co-star Lena Headey—who have worked with us to promote kindness to animals. He wants people looking to welcome a pup into their homes to remember that having a dog is a lifetime gig, and he’s urging others to adopt, never buy.

What You Can Do

  • If your family has the time, space, and financial means to care for a dog, adopt one from an open-admission animal shelter. (Check Petfinder to find shelters in your area.)
  • Never buy animals from a pet store or breeder. Every dollar spent purchasing an animal from a pet store encourages the store to continue buying animals from cruel breeding mills.
  • Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

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