A malnourished and wounded dog was found abandoned in Hazelwood this week in a case described as one of the worst ever seen by a Sligo animal rescue group.
The canine, named Hazel by her carers, was discovered lying in a hedgerow and unable to walk by a passing couple on Monday in the popular nature park.
She is currently receiving medical treatment in a foster home where she is understood to be recovering well.
“We have been in operation for seven years and this has to be right up there with the worst cases we have dealt with. She was very close to death,” said Dorothy Kilgallen of Sligo Animal Rescue.
“She had very badly infected wounds on her hind legs and a lot of cuts and abrasions all over her, but nothing too infected like the ones on her hind legs which are our biggest concern at the minute.”
Hazel’s condition shows that she had suffered for a prolonged period of time and was dangerously underweight by at least 9kg.
“She was found (on Monday), but it would have taken quite a while for her to get into that state, that doesn’t happen overnight or even after a couple of weeks, that would have happened over the course of a number of months. She is also terribly underweight at just 6kg when she should be between 15-18kgs for her breed and height.”
Some recent high profile cases as well as the Irish ‘Animal Rescue’ TV series shows that incidents like this are still very common across the country and Dorothy believes it may be worse than ever before.
“She is today’s news, but in a week’s time she will be forgotten because there will be another dog in another county (in a similar state) and the reality is things just aren’t improving at all, things are actually getting worse.”
This case also provides a stark reminder of the annual plea urging people not to give pets as Christmas presents. Abandoned and unwanted “Christmas pets” has been a problem both nationally and internationally for many years where families have either received an animal they did not want or were incapable of caring for.
Sligo Animal Rescue has dealt with animals in this all too familiar scenario in the past, recounting one particular case of a pup being found tied up on Christmas Day.
“We generally don’t see the Christmas puppies being brought into us until around April-May time. They are at a stage where they are five-six months old and still might not be house broken or still chewing the chairs and skirting boards or they are howling because they are left at home on their own all day. You might get one or two in the days following Christmas who were given to someone as a surprise present, but that person didn’t want them. For example we found a puppy tied up in Doorly Park two Christmases ago and I would say that happened because someone was given a puppy as a surprise but they didn’t want it.”
In an attempt to prevent Christmas pets being picked up in Sligo, Dorothy confirmed that the voluntary group does not allow adoptions throughout the month of December.
“As a rule we do not allow dogs to be adopted in December unless somebody has already been on the list and are unable to collect their pet until this month. We don’t give any animals out as a present and that applies all year round – we do not home animals as presents. Ever.”
Despite this, Dorothy revealed that at least ten enquiries were made in the last week alone about booking kittens and pups as Christmas presents.