Every Christmas frightened and vulnerable animals are dumped and left to die on the cold winter streets of Harrow and Wembley.
Unwanted pets bought as presents are left to fend for themselves because owners cannot be bothered to look after them anymore.
Others are abandoned by their selfish families who desert them over the festive period to go on holiday.
Often it is The Mayhew Animal Home which is left to pick up the pieces and rescue the hungry and cold creatures left to wander the streets over the Yuletide period.
The Brent animal home, which was established in 1886, will now be bracing itself for one of its busiest and most heartbreaking times of the year.
And it is not just the young and vulnerable pets which are being abandoned.
Older and loyal animals are often traded in for younger models and some heartless owners even get rid of their pets fearing they will ruin new furniture. It means finding new homes for elderly animals who do not under-stand why they are no longer wanted.
Peter Bradley, 29, of Pinner Road in Harrow, adopted a Rhodesian ridge-back called Darwin earlier this year from the animal sanctuary. He said:
"Darwin is now about a year old and is doing well. My girlfriend worked as a volunteer at The Mayhew when she was younger and always wanted to adopt a dog from the home.
"Adopting a pet really depends on the person's circumstances. A dog should never be left on their own for long periods and they shouldn't be given as gifts. It is part of your family. You wouldn't go to the shops to buy a child so why do that with a dog."
Janet Loosley, 44, adopted a Wheaten terrier cross called Lola in September from The Mayhew.
She said: "Lola was in a pretty bad way when she first reached the home. She had an infection in her eye and was scared when she came into contact with people.
"It is a long-term commitment taking on a pet. You have to think about their future and dedicate a lot of your time. Anyone can buy a pedigree dog but it is so rewarding to rescue an animal in need.
"People need to think a lot before they decide to take on this responsibility and shouldn't just buy a pet for Christmas."
Caroline Yates, chief executive of The Mayhew, is appealing to people to think twice before they adopt an animal during the festive period. She said: "It is always our wish at The Mayhew to see our animals find a happy home before Christmas but the most important thing is that they find the right, loving family who understand they could be taking on a 15-year commitment when adopting a dog, or cat from us.
"We will have lots of animals with us this festive season and we will give them the comfort and care they need.
"It is fantastic to look back at 2008 and see how many animals have been successfully rehomed from The Mayhew, which makes all our work worthwhile."