Animal welfare campaigners have claimed that working dogs on some Welsh farms are struggling to survive, hidden from view in appalling conditions.
ITV Wales has been given secretly-shot film evidence which suggests that some dogs and their pups are being neglected and mistreated.
Animal lovers and dog rescue charities have spoken out, despite widespread fear of reprisals. They say there is evidence some sheepdogs are not fed and watered properly, given little or no bedding, chained up, and left for long periods in filthy pens.
Some dogs are treated dreadfully badly and it gives everybody a really bad name,” said Chris, who owns a dog rescued from a Welsh farm. “So you say Wales, dog, farm or Wales, dog, breeder and everybody goes phooo. And it’s not true, because there are some really good ones out there, but there are wicked people out there.”
ITV Wales showed the secretly-shot footage to vet Mike Jessop, who said it appeared to show awful conditions of neglect and cruelty. “The more we can educate farmers to move out of the 1950s into the 21st century with their care of dogs, the better things will be,” he said.
The current Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps to meet the welfare needs of their animals - but there is no obligation on local authorities or anyone else to enforce it.
The RSPCA said anyone with a concern about an animal, or needing to report cruelty, should call its 24 hour helpline. The organisation had a 100 per cent success rate for prosecutions in Wales last year.
Tune in at 8pm tonight to see the full episode of 'Wales This Week - Sheepdog Trials and Tribulations'.