An appeal has been launched after nine dogs were found abandoned in poor condition around Winchester overnight.
Three were found at Upham, three at Morestead Road, two at Owslebury and one at Alresford. The animals, thought to be Portuguese water-dogs or poodle cross-breeds, were unable to see or stand properly with matted fur.
The city council said the breed is difficult to determine and has launched an appeal to find those responsible.
Left with mangled fur and unable to walk, stand or see, the canines were found in ditches in the early hours of the morning – covered in mud and looking more like a pile of discarded rags. Vets fear some of them could even have been beaten by their owners as they were shaking with fear when handled.
Horrified residents raised the alarm as they discovered the pets in streets and at the side of rural roads, abandoned and barely able to stand. The pets were yesterday being cared for in a variety of locations, with some being treated in vets while others remained in council accommodation where they will remain for up to a week if nobody claims them.
Last night one vet described their condition as “disgusting” and said they had clearly endured “no life for a dog”. Another described the state of the animals as a case of “clear cruelty and neglect”. One dog was taken to Cedar Veterinary Group, in Alresford to receive emergency medical care.
Co-director Graeme Lunn said he thinks the dog was held in conditions which meant she was unable to wash herself. “I have never seen anything like this before,” he said. “It has to be neglect, there’s no need for that dog to get like that. If it had the chance it would not have got in to that state. She has a sweet nature and is bright eyed but not bushy tailed, more like lumpy tailed.”
Assistant veterinary surgeon, Martha Edwards, said the dog, who they originally named Shaun, had to be sedated whilst the fur was cut off. “She had stones trapped between her pads which had obviously been there for some time,” she said. ‘Disgusting’ “It’s disgusting. I have never seen a dog in this condition before. It is very distressing.”
She also said she thinks the dog has been beaten, because “she shakes every time she is touched.”
Last night Cllr Jan Warwick, Winchester City Council’s portfolio holder for environment, health and well-being, said: “The way in which these dogs have been treated and abandoned is shocking. Fortunately instances of this kind are rare but when they do occur we take them very seriously indeed.
“Our first priority is the health and well-being of the animals and they are now receiving appropriate veterinary care. This kind of cruelty to animals is unacceptable and we will do all we can, working with our partners in the RSPCA and the police, to find those responsible. We are keen for members of the public to let us know if they saw or heard anything that might help us track them down.”
The police, RSPCA and Winchester City Council are now part of a joint investigation to track down those responsible. An RSPCA spokesperson said: “The dogs we have seen appear to be Poodle-type dogs and were found dumped, in a very poor state and covered with mud. We will continue to provide assistance to the local authority to find out why these poor dogs were left and how they came to be in this state.”
Anyone with information should contact Winchester City Council on 01962 840222, extension number 2172, or email email@example.com.