Nfld. & Labrador

9 dogs, 13 cats rescued from Pouch Cove home after being left to fend for themselves

Their owner died, leaving them with a caregiver who couldn't keep up, says the leader of an animal rescue group.

Animals lived in their own filth, police say investigation is ongoing

Tongues out and tails wagging, it's hard to believe the four dogs in Desiree Nippard's kitchen were saved from a den of filth only the day before.

They were reportedly abandoned after their owner died — fed once a day, but left to relieve themselves indoors, confined with a group of 22 animals.

One Labrador mix is missing an ear. Another has no fur on his hindquarters, due to an unknown skin condition. There's a shih tzu with infections in both eyes. It's not known how long the dogs were left in those conditions.

Desiree Nippard stepped up to foster one or two of the nine dogs rescued from a home in Pouch Cove. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

"It breaks my heart, there's no other way to put it," Nippard said, looking over the dogs to see which one she'll foster.

A local rescue group got a call from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary on Monday morning, asking for assistance in removing the animals from the house.

Conditions were terrible, says rescue group

Heather Ballard, leader of Rescue NL, said she's seen some severe cases of neglect, but this one was likely the worst.

"The living conditions were terrible. Horrendous, actually," she said. "I know as soon as we walked in we were coughing, our eyes were burning. We probably should have had hazmat suits on."

Heather Ballard is with the group Rescue NL. They were called by police on Monday to assist with removing the animals from their home. (CBC)

Ballard said one of the shih tszus was matted so badly it had to be sedated to be shaved.

The cats were taken by a different rescue group, and the dogs are now being moved around to different foster homes, to people like Nippard.

Dogs happy, doing much better

Police say they are investigating the incident. It's unclear if charges will be laid.

Each of the dogs needed treatment by a veterinarian. Their conditions range in severity — some are fine to be re-homed now, while others will need more medical attention and surgeries. Ballard expects the final bill to be around $10,000.

The group is considering a fundraiser for the animals' care. In the meantime, they encourage anyone who wants to donate to give what they can.

Just 24 hours after being removed from the home, most of the dogs appeared to be doing much better.

"Once they were cleaned up and they had new harnesses on, they had a bath, they had their nails done, I think they felt like a million bucks," Ballard said. 

"They're happy, they're going around. I think they're just grateful to actually get some attention again."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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