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Fire dogs to spend retirement 'watching Meridian on the sofa'

They say that dogs are a man's best friend - and this is certainly true of two dogs in Hampshire, Inca and Saxon.

These are no ordinary labradors, they are specially trained fire dogs who work alongside Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to detect flammable liquids and work in fire-ravaged properties.

Handler Graham with the two black labradors Credit: ITV Meridian

The dogs came into our studios to talk to Fred and Sangeeta about their retirement after 10 years of hard work.

When asked how they'll be spending their retirement, their handler Graham said they'd be spending it on the sofa watching their favourite show, ITV Meridian, of course.

The well-behaved dogs are far from camera shy Credit: ITV Meridian

Two Hampshire Fire Dogs are set to retire after a service of 126 dog years

Inca and Saxon are two fire investigation dogs that have served loyally for eight and ten years respectively with the team at Hampshire Fire and Rescue.

Inca and Saxon retiring after having attended over 500 incidents Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue

The two black labradors are siblings that have served together for years helping Hampshire Fire and Rescue service find out how fires have been started. This may seem like an easy task but without Inca and Saxon this would not be easy for the Fire and Rescue team.

It would take a fire investigator in excess of four hours to search an area of approximately 20 – 30 m² using conventional apparatus. Saxon and Inca can search approximately 400m² in 10 – 15 minutes.

– Fire investigator Graham Howlett
A dogs nose is an invaluable resource for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue

Don't worry however as Saxon and Inca's work putting criminals behind bars will be continued by Spaniels Millie and Ruby, alongside Border Collie Harvey.

The pair will enjoy their retirement with their long time colleague Fire Investigator Graham and his wife Jo at their home.

If you want to check on how the pairs retirement is going you can follow Hampshire's Fire Dogs on Twitter @HantsFireDogs where Saxon and Inca will be tweeting out to their adoring public.

You can also catch Inca and Saxon on ITV1 on ITV Meridian tonight at 6pm with Fred and Sangeeta.

We hope they enjoy their retirement. Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue

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Public donations gets abandoned foal back on its feet

A foal left for dead by the side of the road in Essex is slowly recovering - following overwhelming support with £20,000 in just one week.

The RSPCA was called after Gizmo was found collapsed and without his mother near Ridgewell Caravan Park in Yeldham Road, Ridgewell in Halstead on Tuesday 17th February.

Any surplus funds will be used for the rescue and treatment of other horses suffering in a similar situation. Credit: RSPCA

As well as being emaciated, he was riddled with lice, had redworm, was hypothermic, dehydrated and has since been found to have pneumonia. He was so weak that he had to be carried to the horsebox on a blanket.

Gizmo was taken into care at nearby Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic, who have put him on a drip, given him antibiotics and nursed him around the clock.

A short Facebook appeal received an overwhelming response from the public, who all rung the clinic to help, so an appeal was set up to help fund his recovery. In just a week £19,622 has been raised - with people donating from as far away as Canada.

Appeal for new home for horses facing eviction

A horse rescue centre in Sussex has been given just weeks to find a new home, or it will have to close. If the proprietors at Free Rein Horse Rescue in Beckley don't find new premises, they may even have to put down fifteen horses and ponies. Andrea Thomas has been speaking to proprietor Claire Gerrard.

Anyone who might be able to offer land to rent is asked to call Georgia Brown on 07936 683703 or Claire on 07881 104576 or go to their donation page

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Pet crematorium plans for Maidstone

A new crematorium could be on the cards for Maidstone in the next 18 months - but for animals. The Borough Council has plans to install the facility at its existing, human crematorium. But commercial operators say it's not a workable business and a waste of taxpayer's money, accusations the council denies.

David Johns reports, speaking to Sharon Brown from Maidstone Borough Council; crematorium owner Carl Bolton; and Kevin Spurgeon from the Association of Private Pet Cemetaries and Crematoria.

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Badger sett destroyed in targeted attack

An entire badger sett has been destroyed at Bourne Valley Nature Reserve in Poole.

On examining the scene, police found that the multiple sett entrances had all been blocked and the surrounding area flattened. I

t is believed that this location was purposefully targeted, with the offenders bringing builders sand and tools to carry out the act.

The incident was reported to police by a local dog walker on Monday 9 February 2015.

Officers have been investigating this crime and are now appealing to the public. Credit: Dorset Police

Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, a Wildlife Crime Officer for Dorset Police, said: “Disturbing or damaging a badger sett is a criminal offence. Badgers have legal protection because of the sheer brutality of crimes against their species

“This is a sickening act. Badgers normally give birth to their cubs at this time of year. Any family in the sett would have suffocated. The offenders have spent a great deal of time and effort to ensure all escape routes were blocked.

“I am appealing to the local community to report any information regarding this incident to me.

“I would also like to ask the many dog walkers, who use this area regularly, to keep their eyes and ears open and remain vigilant to acts like this. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported immediately.”

Reports of organised animal fighting up by a third in 5 years - according to the RSPCA

RSPCA survey Credit: RSPCA

Calls to the RSPCA reporting organised animal fighting have gone up by a third in the past five years. And Kent is one of the regions with the worst record.

There was a total of 594 calls to the charity in 2014 to report incidents or information connected to organised animal fighting, compared to 449 in 2010 - an increase of nearly 33%.

Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA’s special operations unit which investigates organised animal crime, said the figures came as no surprise.

“People look at me with amazement when I tell them about some of the things I’ve seen and heard of when it comes to dogfighting and cockfighting. Some people simply can’t believe it still happens, but it does and these new figures show that it is as much a problem now, if not more, than any other point in recent years. I’ve been investigating organised animal fighting for more than a decade and it still disgusts me, knowing that there are individuals who continue to take pleasure in watching animals brutally fight each other, often causing horrific and sometimes fatal injuries. RSPCA inspectors deal with countless instances of neglect caused by ignorance, but these cases are all about premeditated cruelty. People are deliberately breeding, training and fighting animals for the sole purpose of inflicting suffering.

Animal fighting and baiting was banned in England by the Cruelty to Animals Act in 1835. It is now covered by section 8 of the Animal Welfare Act which makes it illegal to stage an animal fight, to take part in an animal fight, train animals for the purpose of fighting, to attend and/or publicise an animal fight and to posses equipment designed to be used in connection with animal fighting.

The areas with most reports of organised animal cruelty to the RSPCA in 2014 were:

  1. West Midlands (48)

  2. Greater London (36)

  3. Greater Manchester (35)

  4. Lancashire (27)

  5. Kent (26)

“The most important thing is that if someone does have anyi nformation they contact the RSPCA so that we can investigate,” added chief inspector Briggs.

Children learn about ocean wildlife in our waters

It's not a sight you get to see everyday, but ferry passengers and school children were given the opportunity to come face-to-face with 43ft whales, sharks and dolphins.

We spoke to the director of marine charity ORCA, Sally Hamilton, and Portsmouth International Port manager, Martin Putman about the exhibition, which highlighted the variety of wildlife found in our seas off the Solent.

Chloe Oliver has this report.

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