Charity rescues German Shepherd with ‘wonky’ legs

Pat Clark of charity ‘Mutts in Distress’ raised funds to bring Sandy the German Shepherd, who lived with extremely deformed legs at a shelter in Greece, over to the UK for treatment.

Pat and surgeon Chaim Pilosof, of Companion Care Vets, heard about Sandy through contacts at the animal shelter in Corfu where the 10-month-old dog had been left.

After Mr Pilosof agreed to perform surgery for free, Pat flew Sandy over to the UK, where Chaim fitted specially-made plates into the dog’s legs to straighten them.

Mrs Clark said: “I saw a picture of Sandy and knew we had to bring him here. He was so bow-legged and wonky he was almost walking on his chest.”

Mr Pilosof successfully performed the operations, which were not available in Corfu, but now Sandy faces three months of physiotherapy and recovery before he can be rehomed with Mrs Clark.

Speaking after the first operation, Mr Pilosof said: “The deformity was probably caused by poor nutrition, perhaps while he was in the womb… In terms of walking he should be back to normal, and it will be almost unnoticeable.”




Volkswagen TV advert cleared of being ‘irresponsible’

The new television ad for car manufacturer Volkswagen has been cleared of being “distressing and irresponsible” after 46 complaints were received by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ad starts and ends with a shot of a terrier chasing a car, and scenes throughout feature images of dogs with their heads out of car windows during a journey.

Although harnesses and restraints were visible on many of the dogs, the ASA received 27 complaints that the scenes would be “harmful if emulated”. A further 27 complaints were received regarding the scenes showing the terrier chasing the car, which were considered distressing as it appeared that the dog had been abandoned.

Responding to the complaints, Volkswagen said that the company did not seek to encourage controversy within their advertising and regret that some viewers were offended. They also said that they appreciated that the British public was sensitive to animal welfare issues and ensured that every dog featured in the advert enjoyed the experience.

Having considered the complaints and subsequently cleared the advert, the ASA said: “We considered that the tone of the ad was light-hearted and that the ad was unlikely to encourage dog owners to allow their dogs to travel in that way.”

Owners warned as white substance washed up in Cornwall

Dog owners in Cornwall are being urged to take care on the coast after a white substance has started washing up on the beaches.

The substance, which was blamed for the death of a number of dogs when it appeared previously in October, has been washed up on the north coast, between Sennen and Porth.

The deposits are believed to be the same as the previous substance, which was confirmed as being non-toxic, edible oil or fat, but Cornwall Council has put up signs to inform beach visitors.

David Owens, assistant head of environments at the local council, said: “Once again we are especially advising dog owners to be vigilant. Please keep you dog on a lead as there have been reports in the past that the substance could be dangerous for dogs if they eat a large amount of it.”

The council is continuing to monitor the beaches in the area but has asked that anyone who spots the deposits to report it to the customer contact centre on 0300 1234 141.

Study finds personality-based dog social network

A preliminary study conducted by Oxford University and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has discovered that a group of dogs will develop a social network based on each animal’s personality.

The study made use of GPS to track the canines’ movements and interactions throughout 14 off-lead dog walks in Budapest. The behaviour was then analysed to discover whether domestic dogs are capable of developing complex social hierarchies seen in their wolf ancestors.

Having measured a number of patterns in the dogs’ interactions, zoologist Mate Nagy and his team found that the dogs’ behaviour correlated with that of a social network, with certain individuals emerging as pack leaders and influencing the paths taken by the group.

The dogs’ owner also believes that the patterns may be related to each dog’s individual personality. Having filled out a questionnaire, Hedvig Balazs’ answers suggested that the dog that scored as most dominant was also most likely to influence the other dogs on the walk.

Although the study is in its early days, the researchers believe that the final results could shed light on some of the lesser explained aspects of dog social behaviour.

Unwanted Christmas puppies face abandonment

We all remember the television campaign, but it seems that many people still think of dogs as the perfect Christmas present, without considering the long term commitment.

Leading animal charity RSPCA fears that a number of puppies are already being abandoned after finding a puppy dumped in a pillowcase under the M53.

The puppy, believed to be a Staffordshire Bull terrier cross-breed, was handed to the RSPCA in Wirral last week after a passer-by found her tied to the motorway bridge.

A black Shar Pei was also discovered nearby, fuelling the charities concerns.

RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes has highlighted the importance of responsible ownership. He said: “People don’t realise that it is a criminal matter to just dump a pet you are responsible for and if caught, you will be put in front of magistrates.“

He continued: “A sad scared little puppy dumped and left to die in freezing weather, it’s appalling. If people want a pet then they should, after a lot of thought, concentrate wholeheartedly on being a good owner and meeting the animal’s needs.”

Thankfully, this puppy’s ordeal is now over, and she has been taken in by Wirral and Chester RSPCA where staff say she is doing well.

Microchip reunites family after 10 years apart

Microchipping has proved itself a worthwhile investment for one family after they were reunited with their Staffordshire Bull terrier following ten years apart.

Sion Cox was only 11-years-old when his beloved pet Chance went missing, but despite putting up posters, Sion’s mother, Julie Coombes, was unable to locate their pet and the family gave up hope of seeing him again.

But 10 years later, Chance was found in a city centre underpass and taken to a dogs home, where he was scanned for a microchip.

After the scan revealed the family’s name and address, the dogs home contacted Julie and told her that Chance had been found.

She said: “We went to the dog’s home and recognised Chance straight away. It was very emotional seeing him again after 10 years, but I am certain he recognised us.”

Sion, who is now 21-years-old, was delighted to be reunited with his pet after such a long time apart. He said: “It’s crazy, I never thought he would come back, at all.”

If you would like to get your pet microchipped contact your local vet or search online for free microchipping events in your local area.



Vets warn of mystery New Forest poison

A mystery toxin that is responsible for the deaths of at least 12 dogs is thought to have poisoned two more pets in the New Forest.

The two recent cases, which occurred a year after the initial outbreaks, have seen one dog die and another struggling to fight the toxin.

Many of the initial fatalities occurred between December 2012 and March 2013, suggesting that the toxin may be seasonal.

But despite the high number of fatalities, experts are no closer to identifying the toxin, which causes skin lesions and acute kidney failure.

Local vets have warned dog owners to be vigilant when walking in the forest throughout the winter and spring seasons.

Vet David Walker of Winchester-based Anderson Moores said: “Some of the first cases were presented this time last year and it’s incredibly concerning that it might be starting again.”

He continued:

“Our message to pet owners is to be vigilant and consult a vet immediately if their dog develops skin lesions.”

Dog owners across other parts of the UK have also been warned of the mystery toxin after cases have been reported in Cornwall, County Durham and Surrey.