Six starving lurcher pups abandoned at a South Tipperary golf course were reduced to eating empty crisp bags, plastic string and other litter that ultimately caused their deaths.
The emaciated creatures found wandering around Carrick-on-Suir Golf Course died a few days after finding refuge in the Deise Animal Sanctuary near Ballymacarbry because their insides were ripped to shreds by the waste they consumed.
The case has prompted one of the volunteers at the Deise Animal Sanctuary, who helped care for the pups in their last days, to appeal to owners of dogs and other animals not to dump them on the roadside if they are unwanted.
Mary Williams said it was very cruel to just abandon animals like this and pointed out there were other options like handing them over to an animal sanctuary or rescue centre or to the local dog warden where they will be properly cared for and have a very good chance of being re-homed either in Ireland or England.
The fawn and black lurcher pups, estimated to be about two months old, were discovered roaming around the golf course at Garavoone, Carrick-on-Suir about three weeks ago.
Mary told The Nationalist that some kind people picked the pups up and brought them to the Deise Sanctuary.
The pups’ mother was found dead about a mile down the road from the golf course.
She had been frothing at the mouth, an indication she was poisoned.
She recalled that when the pups first arrived, they didn’t look too bad but it was because their stomachs were bloated with the rubbish they had consumed.
“When we started feeding them their digestive systems started acting again and pushed out all the stuff.
“They started passing aluminium papers, crisp packets and copious amounts of blood; their insides were ripped to shreds and one by one they died.
“They were literally skin and bone with even the tendons in their little legs visible.
“The final pup died trying to pass plastic string that had wrapped so badly around its intestines that it pulled some intestines out with it.”
Mary witnessed a few of the pups dying while she was working at the sanctuary.
She said it was really sad and awful to see the poor pups dying but at least they died on a warm bed under a heat lamp with people looking after them.
She believes the pups would have survived if they hadn’t been reduced to eating rubbish because they were starving.
Mary said cases like this need to be highlighted because they are happening all too often.
There are many dogs being abandoned, even pedigree breeds.
At this time of the year, she said a lot of puppies purchased as Christmas presents are abandoned.
People turn a blind eye to abandoned, stray dog because they consider them to be “only dogs”.
She said these dogs don’t deserve the “savagery inflicted on them” and asked what kind of human beings would do that to poor animals
Patricia (Pat) Edwards, who founded the Deise Animal Sanctuary four years, said unfortunately they handle a lot of animal cruelty cases like these lurcher pups.
The Sanctuary is home to 150 animals ranging from dogs, cats, goats and horses to birds and pigs. It has just taken in a pig that was used as bait to train fighting dogs and also recently took in a pot belly pig that was originally purchased as a Christmas present when it was a few weeks old but its owners didn’t realise how big it would grow.
Pat, who formerly worked with Waterford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the sanctuary has a good record of finding new homes for the animals it takes in and cares for.
She pointed out that dogs like lurchers are trained at the Sanctuary to live with cats so they make ideal house pets.
“They are ready to go to a new home when they leave here,” she said.
And she reiterated Mary’s message to animal owners not to simply dump their unwanted pets on the road side.
“If they can’t cope please pick up the phone to our Sanctuary or contact your local dog warden.
“We along with Christine Griffiths of South Tipperary Dog Rescue collect dogs taken in by the South Tipperary Dog Warden every week,” she pointed out.
n Anyone wishing to find out more about Deise Animal Sanctuary should contact Pat Edwards at (052) 6136798.