Nearly 100 dogs burned to the skin from their own mess are rescued from run-down homes

The poor dogs could hardly walk and were afraid of people

The poor dogs could barely walk and were afraid of people (Image: RSPCA/Apex)

Rescuers were “shocked and appalled” after finding 96 dogs in a single home who were afraid of people and infested with fleas.

The animals were mostly Shih Tzus, and all had fur so caked with feces that they couldn’t walk properly.

Their skin was burned from urine, and the dogs had been bitten by fleas so many times that they kept scratching until they bled from skin wounds.

The youngest appeared to be less than a few weeks old and many of the females were pregnant.

It is suspected that their sad situation is related to puppy breeding – where several dogs are constantly bred in poor conditions and the puppies are sold – although this has not been confirmed.

The dogs were rescued from a home in Torquay, Devon and are now being cared for by Margaret Green Animal Rescue, who have been brought in by the RSPCA.

But the sheer number of dogs and the treatment they need is putting pressure on the charity, with one vet bill alone being estimated at at least £15,000.

One of the dogs with a heavily matted coat

The dogs had severely matted fur when they were rescued (Image: Woodside Animal Sanctuary/Apex)

One of the dogs has already had an eye removed and another needs surgery for cataracts.

“We were already at full capacity before stepping in to care for these latest puppy breeding victims, so this unexpected addition of dogs is having a huge impact on our resources,” said a spokesman for the charity.

The RSPCA first responded to the home and then asked for help when the dogs were surrounded by the owner.

Hopefully the dogs can be adopted in the future. But for now, they’re recovering from their ordeal and getting used to being with kind people.

“They were frightened and undersocial and it is unlikely that they ever left the house, not even to go to the toilet,” said a spokeswoman for Margaret Green.

They added that the dogs’ fur was “filled with old feces and their skin was burned with urine.”

Other medical problems include hernias, dental problems, skin problems, and breathing problems.

Niki Ging, manager of the Devon Rehoming Centre, said: “This is a terrible situation for these adorable little dogs. The road to their physical and emotional recovery will be long, but our dedicated staff and volunteers are relieved that we can provide the initial care and comfort to these innocent animals.’

The dogs are said to be extremely fearful of humans and will tremble when approached. Rescue center staff have taken them outside and the dogs are now beginning to relax enough to explore their surroundings.

Margaret Green Animal Rescue does not receive any government funding and relies on donations for support. She has launched an appeal for donations for the treatment and rehabilitation of the dogs on her website.

Other dogs have been adopted by Woodside Animal Welfare Trust near Plympton, The Gables Cats and Dogs Home in Plymouth and the RSPCA branch in Cornwall.

The RSPCA said its rescue teams “worked with the owner to assist more than 90 dogs”.

A spokesperson added: “Thanks to the dedication and kindness of a number of animal rescue centres, the dogs are now receiving care and attention from dedicated staff and volunteers and once they are ready they will be housed.

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Justin Scacco

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