WARNING – This video contains graphic content.
In September 2020 the RSPCA along with Gwent Police rescued 93 dogs from a property which included Dachshunds, Labradors and French Bulldogs, Poodles and Bichon Frise type dogs in an environment which was described by an RSPCA inspector as “one large disgusting kennel”.
The dogs and puppies were seized by police, and the owner has been prosecuted by the RSPCA.
In his statement presented to court, Inspector Darren Oakley said: “The conditions inside the house were horrendous; the floors were covered in faeces with dogs in cages living in their own filth. Every room contained more dogs and pups, the whole house had become one large disgusting kennel. The smell and sights were clearly having an affect on the police who were in attendance.”
“The dogs had no food or water, the only few that did have water were the ones with outside access due to the rain. When food and water was placed down, for the loose dogs, they ate/drank ravenously.”
Shortly after, the dogs – who were seized by police – came into RSPCA care and numerous litters of puppies were born leading to the animal welfare charity having a total of 137 dogs.
The Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home were contacted by RSPCA and took in 18 dogs. This consisted of two whelping Mums, Mini (Dachshund) and Toffee (Dachshund x Jack Russell) and their eight puppies (four each). Along with eight 7-week-old French Bulldog puppies.
Mini’s puppies were all named after cars; Rover, Bentley, Cooper and Polo. Toffee’s puppies were all named after sweets; Sherbert, Bon Bon, Chewitt and Rolo. While the eight French Bulldogs were named after cheese and bread; Stilton, Rye, Pita, Muffin, Edam, Crouton, Cheddar and Brie.
When they arrived with us at the centre, they were far from the healthy, bright little puppies they should have been.
Ebony Poole, Senior Animal Care Assistant at the Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home said:
“I remember the day so clearly and unfortunately not for anything positive. It was actually my day off but I took a call from my colleague who asked for help as we had 18 dogs on the way to the centre which isn’t a call we take every day!”
“The dogs had already arrived by the time I got there and what I and my colleagues witnessed that day is a sight that will never leave me.”
“I walked into the office and my colleague had a tiny French Bulldog puppy on his lap, this poor puppy couldn’t even raise her head because she was so weak. To be honest, she was just a shell of a puppy; puppies of that age should be bright, alert, playful, and interactive. This puppy was weak, lethargic, scared, and completely shut down.”
Almost immediately after their arrival, it became apparent that something was not right and two of the puppies were admitted to the vets. As the hours went on, more and more of the animals began to exhibit signs of a dangerous virus known as parvovirus and within a couple of days, the vets had all the puppies in their critical care unit, with the crew working around the clock to care for them.
Parvovirus is a highly infectious disease that can be fatal. Many dogs who are diagnosed with parvo will die. The virus attacks cells in a dog’s intestines and stops them from being able to absorb vital nutrients. This means that a dog or puppy will become very weak and dehydrated.
Sadly, after 3 days of around the clock veterinary care and treatment we lost Crouton and after 4 days of battling parvovirus we had to say goodbye to Brie. However, the remaining 16 dogs started their road to recovery.
Cheddar, the French Bulldog, spent nearly 3 months between the vets and our centre recovering. Once he was well enough, Cheddar went into foster with Michelle.
Cheddar has now been adopted by Michelle. We are so happy to be a part of these dogs’ journey, ensuring they found their perfect forever homes and continue to live out their lives in happiness.
Michelle wanted to share her story.
‘Being someone who has always grown up with a dog, it has been something I’d wanted again for a long time. Having talked with my family about getting a dog for a while, we decided with so many dogs needing foster homes, especially through the pandemic, that we would get in touch with some local rescue centres.’
‘Within 2 weeks of registering our interest to foster, someone from the centre got in touch with me.’
‘A potential perfect match had been found! A beautiful French bulldog named Cheddar. His story wasn’t good and he had been very poorly with parvovirus and a number of other issues due to the conditions he was rescued from. I was informed of everything and what a fighter this little pup was and how amazed the centre were that he pulled through. The amazing vet and staff at the CDCH definitely saved his life and I will be eternally grateful.’
‘I was then invited to meet Cheddar for the first time, excited didn’t come close! I will never forget Cheddar running down the corridor of the kennels to me, he greeted me with a big lick to my face.. I knew this little guy was for me without a doubt!’
‘When the rest of the family meet him, we all fell love with him, impossible not to, he was gorgeous.’
Shortly after meeting him, we were able to collect Cheddar and take him to his forever home. He was still on medication, we went home with everything we needed for him to ensure his little tummy stayed well, on a sensitive diet, and regular check-ins with the vet to ensure everything was how it should be, as we still needed to monitor his stools.’
‘Cheddar, I’m happy to say, is fully recovered! He is the happiest, most content boy and is definitely spoilt, but he deserves it!’
‘He loves regular trips to Devon for doggy ice cream and long walks by the sea. Cheddar enjoys all the fuss and attention everywhere he goes.’
‘When I picked him up, yes I rescued him, but he rescued me too and I am forever grateful to CDCH for saving his life and truly finding our perfect match.’
Following the court case, evidence of the appalling conditions these dogs were living in has been released, and the team at the Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home were in shock to see the conditions they were living in.
Ebony Poole, Senior Animal Care Assistant, said:
“Even after having first-hand experience of seeing the state these dogs were in, nothing could have prepared me for the footage that I have recently seen of the conditions they were being kept in.”
“I have replayed the video a number of times and the more I watch it the harder it becomes to watch. The only positive thing I can take away from the video is that the dogs are now free from living in such diabolical conditions and are in incredibly loving forever homes.”
Despite the awful start to life, the dogs are all now happy and settled into their forever homes.
Ebony Poole said:
“We can proudly and confidently say that every single adopter that welcomed one of these dogs into their homes has completely transformed their lives! Nothing makes me happier that we could support these dogs in having a brighter future.”
Sadly, we are braced for an animal rescue crisis as more pets come into our care while less people are considering taking on a new pet due to the rocketing cost of living. New figures released by the RSPCA have revealed that the charity’s centres and branches across England & Wales rehomed almost 27,000 animals last year (2021), 8% less than the previous year. At the same time, more animals arrived in the charity’s care and the average length of stay increased, resulting in long waiting lists for spaces in rehoming centres.
We are urging people who can commit to the lifelong responsibility of a pet to consider rescuing instead of buying. You can also help us provide necessary care to animals like Cheddar by donating online.
PLEASE NOTE – all dogs are now rehomed and living their best life with their forever family.
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