Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage has joined forces with animal rights group PETA, in a campaign to stop fans from buying huskies just because they look like direwolves.
The dog breed has become increasingly popular thanks to its resemblance to the show's fictional canines, loyal and trusty companions to the Stark clan on the hit HBO series.
But the actor, who plays the series' popular Tyrion Lannister, says the dogs are being regularly abandoned after owners grow tired of the Thrones-inspired novelty.
"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," he said in a statement released by PETA.
PETA Australia said that while local figures were difficult to determine, data from breed-specific rescue groups has shown an increase in the number of Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes being bred and subsequently abandoned in Australia in recent years - with owners often ignorant of the special needs these breeds require in the Australian environment.
"A Siberian Husky has a double-coat which makes them more suited to colder climates. But breeders do not care about whether a dog is suited to a climate or not - they are looking to make money," said PETA Australia Press Officer, Laura Weyman-Jones.
"If people want a direwolf, they can buy a stuffed animal instead."
Dinklage's message to Game of Thrones fans was similarly succinct.
"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," he said.
The actor, 48, has previously worked with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on campaigns to promote vegetarianism and kindness to animals.
The story 'Huskies ain't direwolves': GoT star's message to fans first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.