Devon rescue centre calls for harsher penalties after puppies found in 'shocking' state

  • Watch Claire Manning's report.

A Devon rescue centre is calling on the government to toughen up animal welfare laws after 25 puppies were found cold, hungry and without water.

Gables Dogs and Cats Home found nine puppies, a six-month-old dog, and three mothers who also had litters.

One of the pups, who has been named "Tiny Carrot" by the Gables team, was discovered with swollen eyes and in poor condition.

The charity said that 25 dogs were rescued overall, in one of the worst animal welfare cases it had ever seen.

Ruth Rickard, deputy manager, said: "Oh it was terrible, it was just dreadful to see them all so cold and just huddled and with just no food.

"It was really terrible but we just had to focus on getting them all out and getting as many as we knew we could take, although we did take a few more.

"We just had to concentrate on what we could do and give them a bright future because what we saw was the worst that we've ever seen, it was awful."

The pups have been coming on in leaps and bounds since moving to Gables and now they're ready to find their forever homes.

Claire Sparkes, the general manager, said: "I've been doing this for 20 years now and it is still shocking when you see it but you just have to focus on getting them out and knowing you can make such a transformation to these dogs and improve their lives.

"We look forward to seeing them go off to new homes and having a wonderful life so it makes it all worthwhile."

Gables estimated that it has cost around £6,000 for the intensive care, neutering and other surgery the dogs needed.

The puppies are ready to find their forever homes

Under the Animal Welfare Act, people can be sentenced to up to five years in prison for not caring for animals properly.

However, Gables said it is seeing an increasing number of cases where animals are not being looked after properly.

Claire said: "I think harsher penalties would make a big difference because it would make people think about what they are doing and the licensing needs to be stricter as well and just general conditions that animals are being kept in.

"It's just not good enough in this day and age and things need to drastically change and we need more education out there about what is an acceptable way to keep animals in our society."