Caution: news story below contains graphic images
The BC SPCA rescued seven severely emaciated puppies and their badly neglected mother from a residence near Ladysmith on February 27. The German shepherd-cross dogs, who were surrendered into BC SPCA custody by their owner, included the mother of the puppies, six 12-week-old puppies and one nine-month-old puppy from a previous litter.
“All of the dogs were emaciated,” says BC SPCA constable Julie Hitchcock. “The mother was shaking violently from dehydration, malnutrition and was balancing on three legs because of an injury, but she was still trying to encourage her emaciated puppies to nurse. It was heartbreaking to see her trying so hard to nurture her puppies under such hopeless circumstances.”
Hitchcock says the contents of the puppies’ stomachs included rocks and sticks that they had eaten to try to stay alive. “The dogs had no access food, water or shelter of any kind.” She adds that one of the puppies will require a partial amputation and reconstructive surgery on its foot and a full amputation of its tail due to infection caused by cuts that were left untreated. “There were injurious objects strewn throughout the area where the dogs were kept and it’s possible that the cuts came from broken glass,” says Hitchcock.
All of the dogs were rushed to Island Veterinary Hospital for immediate treatment and are receiving ongoing medical and nutritional care. “The body conditioning scale for dogs is measured from one to nine, with one being emaciated and nine being obese,” explains Hitchcock. “At barely six pounds, these puppies didn’t even score a zero on that scale. For large-breed, 12-week-old puppies to be that thin is very scary and I’m so thankful we found them when we did.”
Ironically, Hitchcock discovered the puppies by accident while in the neighbourhood responding to another animal cruelty complaint. “I’m not sure how much longer these poor dogs would have lasted,” says Hitchcock. “I was very concerned it was too late, but when the vet gave them fluids and some high-protein food the response was amazing.”
Five of the puppies are currently in care at the BC SPCA Nanaimo and District Branch, one is in foster care and the mother and nine-month-old puppy are still under veterinary care. The investigation continues and charges of animal crueltyare pending in the case.
The BC SPCA would be grateful for any help in paying for the ongoing care costs of the puppies and other animals in need. “The dogs will require a special gastro prescription food for some time in addition to other care costs and we will need to fund the surgery for the injured puppy,” says Hitchcock. Donations can be made at spca.bc.ca/support or by calling the Nanaimo and District Branch at 250-758-8444.
Photo captions: (top) Mother tries to encourage her emaciated puppies to nurse; (middle) One of the puppies will require a partial amputation and reconstructive surgery on its foot and a full amputation of its tail due to infection caused by cuts that were left untreated; (bottom) after having no access to food, water or shelter, the puppies finally get the care they need at the BC SPCA Nanaimo Branch.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.