Winchester abandoned dogs ‘doing well’

Press Release: 23/01/2015

Animal Welfare

Nine poodle-cross dogs abandoned in the Winchester district earlier this week (overnight on 20-21 January) are recovering well.

The dogs – a mother aged around eight-years-old and eight younger dogs between one- and three-years-old – were found at several locations: two at Longwood Dean Lane, Owslebury; three at Lower Baybridge Lane, Owslebury; three on the Morestead Road; and one found in Alresford and handed in to a local vet there.

The dogs were in poor condition, with severely matted fur and unable to stand or see properly.

Winchester City Council’s dog warden team acted swiftly, collecting the dogs and organising veterinary care and kennels.

The dogs have been clipped and treated by vets and they are now able to move more freely and behave normally. They remain shy and some veterinary issues remain but they are responding well to affection. Up to 12 kilos of fur was removed from each dog – the dogs were not used to walking easily because of the sheer weight of fur.

The dogs have been named by vets Sian (mum), Dave, Faye, Justin, William, Kate, Maria, Martha and Mavis.

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

This has been one of the most distressing cases of animal cruelty we have seen in the Winchester district.

Our first priority has been and remains the welfare of the dogs and I am pleased to say that prompt action by our animal welfare team, the veterinary profession and our colleagues at the RSPCA means that the dogs are doing well in spite of their ordeal.

I would like to thank the public and the media for their support in this difficult case. This type of cruelty to animals has no place in our district and we will continue to seek evidence about those who treated the dogs so badly.

The City Council has received kind offers from people wanting to take on ownership of the dogs. An owner has seven days in which to come forward, after which the dogs become the property of Winchester City Council. Then an assessment will be made to match the welfare needs of the animals with suitable homes. This will most likely be with a Rescue Centre, the RSPCA or the Dogs’ Trust in the first instance.

There are around 150 – 200 strays a year in the Winchester district - 40% of them are not reclaimed and have to be re-homed using rescue centres. This picture is the same nationally and people who would like a rescue dog should contact a rescue centre. Donations to support animal welfare are always welcome and may be made to the RSPCA.
Microchipping will be a legal requirement by 6 April 2016. This will enable the local authority to reunite lost dogs with their owners quickly.

The investigation into who mistreated and abandoned the nine dogs in the Winchester district continues. Evidence is being gathered and the City Council is still urging the public to come forward – email or call 01962 840222.
Winchester City Council has taken several prosecutions under the animal welfare act.