Saturday, 4 December 2010


This post also appears in my Freethinking blog.

I don't generally get involved in dog rescue but an extra hand was needed as the rescue involved picking up, walking, and transporting four dogs. Phil was driving, Andrea would be in the back with the dogs, and I'd help with them outside of the van.

Basically the dogs were very neglected and one of the two owners was threatened with the loss of his job because he smelled. When we arrived at the house, the reason he smelled wasn't because of the dogs though, admittedly, if you don't clean up dog shit inside a house it might be a contributing factor. Basically the house was filthy and squalid and on a par with the worst I've ever seen. It was just disgusting. Three of the dogs had hair loss on their backs, probably due to a flea allergy. But the fourth, the oldest and mother of the others and had been used for breeding, had a mass of pustles covering half its back. Yet the dogs were friendly and mother the sweetest of the them all.

We took them for a walk in the snow prior to getting them in the van so they could empty themselves.
As I said, they were friendly, they also barked a lot and in the confines of a small van that was a lot of loud barking. Anyway, down the A19, right onto the A690, turn left onto the A1M, take the first exit and turn right or this in this case left for a case of 6 and one 3, and here we are at Stray Aid rescue deep in the frozen Durham countryside.

Stray Aid, which primarily does dogs plus a few cats, are a well-resourced organisation run by a vet and her partner. Phil was arguing to place the case with the RSPCA which Stray Aid were supporting. But that meant heading back up the A1M to take the dogs to the RSPCA place at Felledge near Chester le Street. Personally I felt they should be left with Stray Aid. But no, up the A1M we went. But first a little gambol in the deep snow.
The sheep were already there. We haven't started rescuing them.
Although Stray Aid is only 50 yards from the A1M, it's two miles to drive to the nearest slip road.

Before we set out I did suggest phoning the RSPCA but was told that they never makes decisions over the phone. So off we went up to the Chester le Street turnoff. Just as well it wasn't further as the dual carriageway there was reduced to a single lane. We doubled back heading south again along an urban dual carriageway and saw the traffic on the other side of the road stuck in a tailback at least two miles long.

So we got to Felledge and Phil went inside and learned that not only did they not have anyone on the premises to make a decision, they couldn't contact anyone to make a decision.

So: back to Stray Aid or take the dogs back toe their owners. I suggested it would be highly unlikely that they'd take them back and a phone call proved this to be the case. They may have poor standards of hygiene but they weren't completely stupid. I wasn't convinced there was any point in prosecuting them as the dogs had been neglected rather the object of deliberate cruelty. So: back to Stray Aid via Durham and the A1M turnoff we'd last gone down two hours earlier. Here's Felledge.

Our van.
And the dogs were left at Stray Aid. They felt sure that two were easily re-homeable after some flea treatment, a third would need some behavioural work, the mother would be put to sleep to end her suffering.

Despite all the pretty pictures I've taken it was a long and dispiriting five hours

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