Puppy dies after dozens of dogs found in garage without food or water

Dozens of distressed dogs were left in a cold, dark Lancashire garage without food or water.

The dogs belonged to an animal breeder who allowed them to stay in heavily soiled bedding and in such poor conditions that one of the puppies died even after police and council officials raided the property. Multiple other dogs had infections and all were found to be have dry faecal matter on them and a bad smell.

The dogs were being bred at Red Rose Kennels in Overton, near Lancaster, and were discovered in the terrible conditions after a tip from the member of the public. On Monday, June 6, the woman visited the premises as apparently agreed with Jack Reay, the licence holder for the kennels. Mr Reay was not present when she arrived and did not show up at any point over the coming hours.

A report which will go before Lancaster City Council’s licensing committee next week states: “She remained on site for eight hours. She tried a number of times to contact Mr Reay on his mobile phone, but he did not respond. She returned the following day and with still no one on site she reported her concerns to the police. The police then reported the matter to the council.”

Two council officers visited the Lancaster Road premises, described as a “large, detached property” later that day but again no-one was present. They returned two hours later accompanied by police officers and gained access to a double garage converted for whelping and a converted stable block consisting of nine kennels. The property also has around one acre of land attached.

Inside the garage, the animals had been left in complete darkness and the first whelping pen contained one bitch and four pups who were around one week old. They had no heating, water or food and one was responsive. In the second pen, a heavily pregnant bitch was in blood soaked bedding without heating water or food. She would give birth the next day after being seized by officers.

In another pen, five puppies believed to be around eight weeks old similarly had no heating, water or food and also did not have their mother with them. In the stable block, all of the dogs kept in kennels were also found in darkness without food or drink.

Across the four of the kennels, a total of 21 dogs were in heavily soiled bedding. Another contained one bitch and nine puppies in equally poor conditions.

The report states: “It was apparent that their needs were not being met, contrary to Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act and there were 16 easily identifiable breaches of his Animal Licensing conditions, notably all welfare. Following veterinary examination one puppy was found to have an infected umbilical hernia, requiring veterinary treatment. One pup was hyperthermic and later died.

“Two breeding bitches had vaginal infections. One breeding bitch was found to be underweight. All dogs were found to be dirty, with dry faecal matter and malodourous smell.”

Among of a catalogue of breaches of licence conditions were the lack of water, heating and suitable environment, along with the lack of opportunities to exercise and interact with people. Being left unattended for more than four hours constituted another breach, as did the separation of puppies from their mother; the size of three of the kennels; and the fact that the licence only covered a maximum of 10 dogs.

Mr Reay has now had his dog breeding licence stripped with immediate effect and could face a criminal prosecution. He has not been asked to explain the conditions but officers believe that he was out of the country for four days at the time of their involvement.

The report adds: "He has been informed he will be asked to attend a formal interview under caution, and this will be his opportunity to answer specific questions and explain what happened. Due to the severity of the welfare failings and number of breaches of the licence, it is intended to prepare a prosecution file for this incident.”

The matter will be discussed at Lancaster City Counci's licensing committee on Thursday, June 30 at Morecambe Town Hall.