Dogs had been rescued before from Fivemiletown 'animal hoarder'

Published: 13 Jul 2012 13:000 comments

AN 80-YEAR-OLD woman who had 30 dogs rescued from her house outside Fivemiletown a fortnight ago has had animals removed from her care before.

Lulu, one of the 29 Chihuahua dogs rescued from a house outside Fivemiletown.

A Rottweiller and 29 Chihuahuas were found to be living in poor conditions at the home.

Six of the dogs were placed into the care of the Dogs Trust in Glasgow where one of them was later euthanased.

No action is being taken against the woman after an anonymous call was made to the Grovehill Animal Shelter in Omagh a fortnight ago, reporting the animal neglect.

But Lynda Hill, founder of the Shelter, says the repercussions of the animals' neglect are endless.

"It's the biggest case of animal neglect I have ever seen," she said, "The conditions these dogs were living in were very unacceptable.

"Most of them never got out of the house, they never got fresh air. They never got much human attention.

"They had overgrown nails, they had rotted teeth and their hair was matted. They had received no veterinary care.

"This neglect has been going on for a long time. This woman has had dogs lifted from her before by the USPCA, a couple of years ago. She is very typical of an animal hoarder who doesn't know how many dogs she has. I can't get my head around it."

According to Lynda, over the course of the last fortnight, some of the dogs have started to become accustomed to human contact.

But while Fermanagh and South Tyrone dog lovers have been coming forward to offer up a loving home, Lynda says many of them are far from ready to be rehomed.

"Some of them have started coming forward to us for their food, some of them have started to eat out of our hands which suggests that in due course most of them will be able to be rehomed. But two of them at the moment are very difficult to handle -- they suffer from extreme fear and aggression which leaves it very difficult for us to help them.

"It's not that they are nasty dogs, but we keep reaching out to touch them and they will turn at you out of sheer protection."

And as a result of the dogs' ongoing care, the Animal Shelter is facing a bill of well over £4,000.

"That's to cover neutering, vaccinating, worming, defleeing and microchipping," explained Lynda, "We have found that some of the dogs have heart murmurs too, so they need to be put on heart medication.

"The work to help these dogs is endless, and will be ongoing for some time. It is a long slow process but the staff and volunteers have done wonders so far.

"We have had a lot of calls from people in Fivemiletown and the Fermanagh area looking to adopt or provide foster care for the dogs.

"It will be a case of going through the application forms and deciding who is suitable to cater for the specific needs of each dog."

Lynda said the care for the rescued animals was having a knock on effect on the day to day running of the Shelter, too.

"We have a queue of 20 dogs needing our help here," she said, "Rescuing these dogs leaves us under real pressure because we can't take in dogs in the Pound or dogs people don't want any more."

A spokesperson for the Dogs Trust in Glasgow said the remaining five dogs in their care were receiving all the necessary veterinary care.

"Unfortunately, they were all suffering from extensive matting, and poor dental health and several have had heart murmurs detected. One of the dogs was unfortunately in a severe state of decline and was not responding to treatment and a decision was made by the veterinary team to euthanase the dog to prevent any further suffering. The team is continuing to work closely with the other five dogs as they are all very undersocialised and cautious of people, but we hope via one-to-one work with our team of experts and behaviourists we can give them a second chance and hopefully find them a new happy home environment."

A text donation campaign has been set up to help Grovehill with their care for the animals.

Text GROV21 £5 / £10 / £20 to 70070.

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