Animal charity’s new year crisis

Joseph Bulmer

More than 100 animals are ‘dumped’ over the festive season – including a dog that had just given birth.

A DOG tied to a Barnstaple gate and abandoned shortly after giving birth was just one of an horrific Christmas avalanche of unwanted animals that has left North Devon Animal Ambulance inundated to crisis point.

The Staffordshire bull terrier, christened Holly by volunteers at the charity, was found a few days before Christmas in Newport, leaking milk and very thin.

A note had been pushed through a nearby letterbox asking the occupants to take care of her.

Diana Lewis at the Animal Ambulance said it was just one example of “an absolutely shocking” festive season for the charity:

“She’s a lovely sweet-natured staffie of about three or four-years-old – we have no idea what happened to her puppies, whether they had died, been disposed of or sold,” she said.

“The run-up to Christmas was absolutely heart-breaking, with so many unwanted animals turned in to us.

“We have more than 40 cats, 15 dogs and 30-plus rabbits – it was often older cats and dogs which people did not want any more because they were getting new ones for Christmas.”

On Boxing Day, Diana was called to three rabbits abandoned in squalid conditions for five days after the previous tenant vacated the property. One later died.

These numbers are in addition to the large surge of rehomings Diana said they had enjoyed following an article in the Gazette just before Christmas.

“Lots of lovely people came forward to help and offer new homes to 15 cats, seven dogs and several rabbits,” she said.

“But we are now so full of animals once again that unless more people can offer permanent loving homes for them, we simply cannot take any more.”

Holly in particular is desperate for a new home. Diana says she is “wonderful with people” but also good with cats and other dogs.

Anyone who would like to help by giving one of the abandoned animals a loving home can call (01271) 323740 for cats and small animals or (01271) 860376 for dogs.