An animal rescue charity says it fears one of its dog is being overlooked by potential adopters due to the facial scars he’s been left with after a life of being used to hunt wildlife.
Five-year-old lurcher cross Bronco is currently housed at the RSPCA's Felledge Rescue Centre in County Durham.
He was rescued alongside six other dogs as part of a police investigation into a group of family members who were hunting wildlife with their dogs.
The charity’s Special Operations Unit worked with police in October 2020 to investigate social media posts suggesting the group used their dogs to hunt wildlife such as rabbits, foxes and badgers. Warrants were executed, seven dogs were seized and phones were removed which revealed images and videos of ‘sickening’ attacks on wildlife.
Bronco and the other dogs were removed from conditions described by the vet who attended the scene as 'unhygienic'. According to the vet, their scarring is 'commonly encountered when a dog has been fighting with another animal'.
Kennel supervisor Jo Dodds said: "Bronco is such a lovely boy and he spent a long time with us while his case went through courts. Since he’s been available for rehoming we’ve sadly had no applications for him, even though he’s a beautiful boy, inside and out.
"Sadly, we fear people are being put off by his scars and the fact he has to wear a muzzle when he’s out and about. Due to his previous life experiences and his strong chase instinct he will need to be muzzled when he’s on walks but we’ve done lots of positive training with his muzzle and he’s happy wearing it.
"Bronco’s muzzle doesn’t prevent him from enjoying adventures and having fun on his walks but, sadly, there is a stigma around dogs who wear muzzles and we fear this may be another reason why people aren’t applying to adopt him."
Bronco gets on well with other dogs but can sometimes be uncomfortable around other males and needs gentle reassurance.
The charity says an ideal home for him is one where he would be the only the only pet, with a secure garden as he has a high chase instinct, and he could live with secondary school-aged children.