Wednesday, December 3, 2008

United Kingdom: Ordeal of the 100 starving St Bernards abandoned by Mary Ellen Collis

UNITED KINGDOM -- Up to 100 St Bernard dogs have been rescued after being abandoned without food and water at a kennels.

Two were in such a bad condition they later died.

The dogs, which include puppies and fully-grown adults, had been locked in their cages and left unfed for several days.

Their bowls had been upturned and many of the animals were covered in their own excrement.

The kennels belonged to a well-known dog breeder, Mary-Ellen Collis. She has vanished and the police and RSPCA have been unable to trace her.

RSPCA officers made the shocking discovery at the Wardana Kennels in Brigstock, Northamptonshire, on Saturday evening after a member of the public alerted police.

It is not known how long the dogs had been left but it could have been for up to a week.

A team of 12 RSPCA officers have spent the past three days removing the animals, but were unable to save two. The survivors have been placed temporarily at kennels in Nottingham and Peterborough where they are undergoing full health checks.

Once vets are satisfied they are in reasonable condition, new owners will be sought for most of them.

It is thought that four had been staying at the kennels while their owners were on holiday. The RSPCA has reunited two of the dogs with their owners and is still trying to get in touch with the remaining two.

Describing the scene at the kennels, RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs said: 'There was feces everywhere and upturned bowls. Something has gone wrong. Because they are such big dogs you wouldn't expect to see so many in such conditions. But it looks like we can do something with them.'

The Wardana Boarding Kennels and Cattery is well known among dog owners for its St Bernards. Mrs Collis, 50, was a founding member of the Kennel Club's Accredited Breeder Scheme which was set up in 2004 to encourage the breeding of healthy puppies.

She is also a qualified veterinary nurse (aka vet tech) and animal groomer. The Kennel Club said last night it was 'disturbed' by the situation.

A spokesman said: 'The club is deeply concerned to hear about the alleged conditions that the dogs belonging to Mrs Collis have been found in and her apparent disappearance.

As an Accredited Breeder, Mrs Collis's premises have been inspected by the Kennel Club and at that time there was nothing to give any cause for concern. The Kennel Club is disturbed to now hear about the alleged dramatic decline in her dogs' living conditions.'

They, like the AKC, make appointments and tell these breeders what day they will be coming. It doesn't take a genius to realize that the breeder will make sure everything is cleaned up by that date.

The discovery comes a year after 100 abandoned horses were rescued from a smallholding in Buckinghamshire. Up to 32 were found dead at Spindles Farm in Hyde Heath.

(Daily Mail - Dec 2, 2008)

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