Abandoned dogs – update

The nine dogs abandoned near Winchester last week are being taken to RSPCA rescue centres for the next stage of their recuperation.

The poodle-crosses – named Sian, Dave, Faye, Justin, Kate, William, Maria, Martha and Mavis – are moving to Ashley Heath, the Ark at Stubbington and Mount Noddy near Chichester.

The dogs remain in the overall care of Winchester City Council. At the rescue centres the RSPCA will continue to build up the dogs’ strength, socialise, train and exercise them until they are well enough to go to new homes. This is expected to take several weeks.
People interested in putting forward their names to provide a home for one of the dogs should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

The ninth poodle-cross, named Kate, who remained with the vet, is now much-improved. She has started to eat and is set to join the others at the RSPCA rescue centres.

The nine dogs were abandoned last week (21 January) at four locations near Winchester: one at Alresford; three on the Morestead Road; three at Lower Baybridge Lane, Owslebury; and two at Longwood Dean Lane, Owslebury.

Experienced animal welfare officers say it is the worst case they have seen. The dogs were almost unrecognisable when they were found: they had long, matted coats, they were caked in mud and filth, they were undernourished, with stones in their feet and overgrown claws. They were unable to see or walk properly because of the sheer weight of fur. It took vets three hours to shave up to 12 kilos of fur from each of the dogs – half their bodyweight.

Cllr Jan Warwick, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, Health and Well-Being, said:

 The plight of these animals has touched the hearts of many, and I would like to thank everyone for their support and kind words about the work of the team caring for the dogs.

There has been national and international interest from nearly 100 media organisations, fundraising campaigns, thousands of visits to social media sites and over 10,500 views of our own film of the dogs.

The Council continues to put the welfare of the dogs first – that is our top priority. No clear evidence has emerged so far that would enable us to identify those who mistreated and abandoned the dogs but we continue to investigate and work through the messages we receive.

Anyone with information that may help authorities find those responsible should email eh@winchester.gov.uk or telephone 01962 840222.

Microchipping will become a legal requirement from April 2016 which will help local authorities in reuniting stray and lost dogs with their owners.

The advice from Winchester City Council’s animal welfare team is: don’t buy puppies over the internet; make sure you see them ‘at home’ with their mother.