A WEST Devon animal rescue centre has spoken of the overwhelming response from the public after it helped save almost 100 dogs from living in horrific conditions last month.

A huge rescue mission by the RSPCA brought together many animal shelters in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset after the 96 dogs were found in a semi-detached Devon house with numerous health problems surrounded by their own urine and faeces.

The Wingletang centre near Tavistock, part of Margaret Green Animal Rescue, has been instrumental in caring for the dogs, getting them medically fit and finding them new homes after centre manager Niki Ging brought 25 of the Shih Tzus back to West Devon.

Niki, who has worked at Wingletang for 28 years, said she had been so touched by the response from people who had not only come forward to offer homes to the dogs, but had also given donations and offers of support.

‘There has been a lot of good teamwork and the public have been amazing,’ she said. ‘It’s unbelievable the level of support, especially considering the times we are living in.

‘I had one letter from a lady with £10 in it, there was no address or anything, she just wanted to help. She said it wasn’t much, but that’s a lot of money to some people and it all helps. I would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported us in some way. ‘

Niki said there had been hundreds of pounds in donations, but they needed it as the treatment cost was in excess of £10,000.

‘A lot of the dogs have got new homes, but they are not ready to go yet because they haven’t been signed off by the vets,’ she said.

‘We had to get them all neutered or spayed and many had eye problems because of the interbreeding, they also had dental problems and some with breathing issues.

‘One of the worse things was because they had been living in their own faeces and urine, their fur was all matted and they would have been constantly wet underneath, they had sores and bruising on the skin as the fur had been so tight.

‘Some of the matted fur was nearly as big as the dog itself. They don’t look very pretty as we had to clip off the fur— we are not groomers — but they are much better now and very sociable little dogs, if a bit scared, understandably. Not one of them has an ounce of malice though.’

With lots of love and attention Niki said: ‘We are trying to show them that the world is not so bad.

‘Westmoor Vets were brilliant and local company Equafleece provided coats for the dogs to keep them comfortable. We had 11 dogs here of the 25 and the others went to our centre in Dorset. We have just a few to rehome now, including Clive who is waiting for a cataract operation.’

Westmoor vet Max Cavrot said sadly one of the dogs who was in the hospital was so poorly it died, but the other one survived.

‘We had dogs with severe matting and some with hernias which is due to inbreeding,’ he said. ‘A lot had been neglected, they were really sad dogs.’

To find out more about helping the charity go to to https://www.margaretgreenanimalrescue.org.uk/donate