Episode 1 Animal 24:7


Episode 1

Series following the people fighting to protect Britain's wildlife and pets. RSPCA Inspector Chris Shaw makes a grisly discovery in a house of horrors.


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Transcript


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All too often, our wildlife and domestic pets are the victims

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of cruelty, persecution and neglect.

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Animal 24/7 is with the people fighting to save them.

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Coming up...

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sinister findings in a house of horrors.

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Ah, Carrie, there's a dead cat stuck to the back of the wardrobe.

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The mystery surrounding a stolen Staffy.

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What are you doing in the cupboard?

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That's not very friendly, is it?

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And a frightened badger, trapped in a backyard.

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Quite a built-up place for a badger to be, isn't it? He's curled in there with his head underneath.

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In here, we find...Apricot,

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just one of 500 or so cats that come in to this RSPCA cattery every year.

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When she was picked up, she was pretty thin,

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short of water and had been living alone for quite a few days.

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As you can see, she's still pretty skinny today.

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That call-out was fairly routine for inspectors,

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but sometimes the RSPCA are faced with cases that are much more shocking.

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This house is home to over a dozen cats and their owner.

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She's ignored warnings to improve the way she keeps her pets.

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Now the police and RSPCA inspector Chris Shaw have arrived to rescue them.

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The owner's not home, but they're determined to get inside.

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The door may be open but Chris hits an invisible barrier.

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Do you want a mask?

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-I think so. Have you got a mask?

-Yeah.

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The stench is overpowering.

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Oh, my...

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It's disgusting.

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It's hard to know where to start, but time is of the essence.

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All the cats must be found and removed before the team are overcome by ammonia fumes.

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-Oh, my eyes are streaming.

-Cat boxes quick, please.

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Vet Dennis Jones is keen to ensure that none of the cats escape.

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Mr Jones, there's one making a break for the door.

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-It's making a break for it!

-It's all right.

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It's gone in the other room.

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I think there's going to be about 20 cats in there to collect...approximately.

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I really can't quite say, though.

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There's another one here, actually.

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Hello, little mate.

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Things are going well, but the conditions are getting more difficult.

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Are your eyes OK?

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-Stinging.

-Yeah. Mine are stinging.

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I'm going to throw up.

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Making me feel pretty sick at the moment.

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Inspector Gary Eastwood arrives to help with the rescue.

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It's the worst I've seen. Out of 24 years, it's absolutely...

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-More baskets, please!

-..filthy.

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Look at that room. It just says it all, doesn't it, really?

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There's no water coming in from the outside.

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That is just either urine or poo.

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I mean, it's worrying how someone can let their life and their house become like this.

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I spoke to the lady.

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Her excuse was she's very busy.

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But there's busy and there's, you know...

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That's not an acceptable excuse, as far as I'm concerned.

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The thing is, she chooses to live here and the cats don't.

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She forces them to live here.

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Chris suspects the cats may be hiding beneath the large wardrobe.

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-They tilt it forward and his hunch is spot on.

-Are the cats under there?

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But then he makes a shocking discovery.

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Carrie, there's a dead cat stuck to the back of the wardrobe.

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Oh, that's fallen down there, hasn't it?

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Now, as well as saving the living, Chris needs to gather evidence on the dead.

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This is just...

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beyond belief.

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And downstairs, there's more horror.

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Another one. Gary!

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-How dead are we talking?

-Six months.

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The poor thing's got its foot up in its mouth.

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Oh, there's loads in here, Gary.

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-What, dead ones?

-Yeah.

-Oh, no.

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Oh, crikey, the smell is absolutely horrific. It's just overpowering...

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of ammonia, faeces, bodies. It's just disgusting.

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What's even more upsetting are the scratch marks on the door.

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This could be evidence of a story almost too appalling to contemplate.

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Must have gone through a lot when he was trying to get out, then.

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Yeah.

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The remains of dead cats litter the room.

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-They've clearly been here for some time.

-A skull here.

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The two front legs here. There's the pelvis and the backbone there.

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And the remains of the cat's fur overlaying the body.

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You're more than likely dealing with just straightforward starvation here.

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In total, the team recover the remains of 12 dead cats.

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Just shocking. Absolutely shocking.

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The search is finally over, but it's not the end of the day.

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Chris' attention must now turn back to the health of the rescued animals.

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We need to get these cats to a vet's as soon as possible.

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Get them all examined. Make sure they are going to survive.

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They probably need some antibiotics. There was a lot of cats with runny noses and eyes.

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The sooner we can get them examined, the better, so I want to get over to the vet's.

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Later...

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This one does not look so good.

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Yeah. It's a good job we did get in and get those ones out.

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But still, still I wish I'd have got there sooner.

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Every year, around 100,000 pets are reported lost or stolen,

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and as you can see, a fair few pass through here, at Stapeley Grange Cattery.

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It's a time of real heartbreak for their owners,

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but if their pet is microchipped, there's much more hope.

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In the East End of London, the Met have been called to a block of flats

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where a Staffordshire bull terrier is locked in a utility cupboard.

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Now RSPCA inspector Dawn Avery has also arrived.

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We had a report of a dog locked in the cupboard overnight.

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The neighbours have finally had enough of the barking.

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It seems that the dog's owned by a bunch of kids whose parents won't let them have a dog,

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so they've found another way in.

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The dog has been growling, but it's unclear whether

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this is because it's aggressive or purely because it's frightened.

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DOG GROWLS Hello. Hello.

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What you doing in the cupboard, then? That's not very friendly, is it?

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Not very friendly at all, is it?

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Are you hungry? Are you going to bite us?

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Shall I go and get a biscuit, see if we can make friends? What I'm going to do...

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I'll go and get a little bit of food, cos if she's anything like me, it'll bring her round.

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I'll get one of my poles. I'll go and get that out the van.

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Dawn hopes her catching pole and treats will do the trick.

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Right. Food.

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Experience tells her this Staffy could have been stolen, possibly for breeding.

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If she is a female and if she is pregnant,

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cos I haven't had a decent enough look at her yet, it'll be a money-making venture.

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And it just gets quite depressing cos we see this quite a lot.

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Most dogs would growl in that situation, but you never know

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with these dogs and they're quite lethal if they're aggressive.

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I don't want its jaws around me.

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So I'm going to have a little go with food but if that fails

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I'll wait for the dog unit and they can help me.

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Dawn returns to the dog, hoping that she can get it away from the scene without it becoming aggressive.

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And that's not all there is to worry about.

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Were the youths hanging about when you were here earlier?

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They denied all knowledge when we turned up.

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Right. Look. Bless her. There's no natural light in here at all.

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What have you got in there?

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She's got bedding. She's got a toy.

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She's got water.

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She's got a light bulb to play with as well.

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Not sure I'd want her to crunch on that. It's totally an unsuitable place to keep a dog.

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Are you going to like me, eh?

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You going to bite that?

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Dawn manoeuvres her pole into the cupboard and onto the dog.

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The reason we use this rather than putting a lead on

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is at the moment, we don't know what her temperament's like.

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Fortunately, the dog accepts the restraint without any fuss.

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There's a good girl. See, you're out your cupboard now.

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Come on.

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Who's a good girl?

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You're not so bad, are you? Eh?

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Oh, you're wagging your tail!

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Who's a good girl?

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What would be a good idea as well would be to scan her for a microchip, wouldn't it, basically?

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With the scanner, Dawn can check within minutes whether the dog has an embedded microchip.

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If it has, tracking the owner down becomes a lot easier.

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Now, come on. What I'm doing now is I'm just scanning her to see if she's got...

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Oh, she has, she's chipped.

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That means Dawn could be just hours away from reuniting this frightened dog with her owner.

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She's still going to go up to the police station.

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Good girl. Up.

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Oh, look at that. Good girl!

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I'm going to make enquiries as to who the chip's registered to.

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Could be a lost dog, stolen dog, anything really.

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-And we'll find out.

-Because of suspicions the dog has been stolen,

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she will stay with the police until her true home is found.

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Meanwhile, Dawn puts in a call to Petlog, who hold the details of all chipped animals.

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Good morning. My name's Dawn Avery.

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I'm an RSPCA inspector from London.

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We've picked up a dog in, would you believe, a cupboard, a communal cupboard. Yep.

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Out of interest, has this dog been reported as missing or stolen?

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Has it? And that was a while back, though, was it? All right.

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Lovely. OK. Thank you for that. What I'll do then is I'll make contact with the owner. Thank you.

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All right, then. Bye-bye.

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Right. She's only about two years old.

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The person that is her registered owner actually lives in this area.

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This is where the good old A to Z is still better than sat navs, I'd say.

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-Dawn now knows the dog is called Blaze.

-OK.

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She also has an address for her owner,

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but how will they react to the news that their pet has been found?

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Coming up...

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-I've picked up a dog that's microchipped.

-A Staff?

-Yeah.

-My Blaze?

-Yes.

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-Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

-Are you OK, are you?

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As we saw with Dawn Avery there, approaching any animal that needs rescuing can be a risky business.

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And although Megan here is a bit of a softie, a cat too can deliver a nasty bite if they're scared.

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So think how bad it can be if you're trying to pick up a wild animal.

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This is the popular Somerset holiday resort of Weston-super-Mare.

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While day-trippers enjoy the late afternoon sun,

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animal rescuer Pauline Kidner is responding to an emergency call.

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You wouldn't normally associate badgers with the seaside,

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but this one's said to be trapped just yards from the beach.

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-Where's the place, Pauline?

-Over there.

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If we just have a look and see what the situation is.

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-I'll let you go first. You're the experienced one with badgers.

-Hello!

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'Instead of its set, this badger's night on the town unexpectedly ended at the back of this terraced house.'

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-It's quite a built-up place for a badger to be.

-It is.

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It's over there in the corner.

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He's curled in there with his head underneath.

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It's right in the middle of town here.

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It's the towns that have moved into their territories

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and they've just got to find a way of surviving.

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Last night's encounter left both human and animal shaken.

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As the frightened intruder tried to break out of the yard,

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homeowner Steve Varney thought something far nastier was trying to break into his house.

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We heard quite a racket about 4.30am this morning

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and at first, I thought it was someone trying to get in.

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And I kind of turned the light on and I just see this little pair of eyes

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peering at me and it was going round sticking its bum in the air and marking its territory.

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And of course, I got a bit concerned because it was just scratching away.

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-Did you know you had badgers round here?

-Didn't have a clue.

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Not something I would kind of

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picture in my back garden, for sure.

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Possibly injured from the fall into the yard and obviously scared, we now need to capture the badger.

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Blanket. Cage. Grasper.

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That's it, hopefully.

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Should do the job. At the moment, he's sat quietly, but obviously,

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once we start manoeuvring round, he might suddenly come to life.

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Because badgers can be quite tough characters.

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They've got a very strong bite, but they are actually shy, so we're going to give him the option

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to run into the cage, if he wants to. If I just put something in the bottom of it like that.

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If I can just quietly go in there and put it down first of all.

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With walls on all sides, it's easy to see how this yard became a prison.

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OK. You've got the top end of the cage, we need.

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And basically, we just have it at the top there...

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-ready to feed him.

-Trying to usher him in.

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That's what we're going to try and do is get him to go in.

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-Come on.

-I'll have this ready to slam on top.

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That's it.

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-Got him.

-Right. There we go.

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Let's just have a look at him and see how he is.

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I think it's just one that's fallen off the wall.

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He looks in pretty good nick, so we can have a look at him this afternoon

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and let him have a hotel night's stay with some free food and probably let him go tomorrow.

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Will you let him go somewhere near here, cos they're quite territorial?

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They're very territorial and this is a typical situation where people say it's in the middle of the town

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and there's a much nicer place where the woods are a little bit further away and we put him there.

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So, ready to go?

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Yeah. Cover him over.

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And in to the van.

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It's not yet clear if the badger's been injured.

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We take him back to Secret World's casualty room,

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where Pauline and veterinary nurse Lisa Hills anaesthetise him so they can check him over more closely.

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So the muzzle's just going on for security in case he wakes up, is it?

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That's right. Yeah. I mean, you need to be sensible with badgers

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because we're doing something that's alien to him so if he was to come round, he'd be very frightened.

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It's just a bit unfortunate that you landed in that garden.

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The check-up's all clear, although his feet reveal more clues about his lifestyle.

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That's really interesting, cos look how short his claws are.

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So he's obviously walking around where there's a lot of cement, cos he's an urban badger.

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When this badger returns to his set, he'll have a permanent reminder of his seaside jaunt.

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Every adult badger treated at Secret World gets its own unique piece of body art.

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By tattooing him, it means we'll always know if he turns up again

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that he's one that's already been in rehabilitation,

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or if somebody finds him in a few years' time,

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we'll know how long he went on to survive once we let him go.

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'And it's not going to be long before badger 0608W

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'notices his new markings.' Here we go. Pop him back.

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He's just getting a wee bit lively.

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Down on the blanket?

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Just rest his head up onto the side, onto the back. That's it.

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Then slip the muzzle off.

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And after a brief spell in the centre's recovery room, he's back on his feet.

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Well, almost.

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As you can see, he's coming round now, although looking a bit shaky.

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He'll be in here for another day and hopefully let out tomorrow night

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and there's no reason why he won't thrive and survive in that urban environment.

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And thank goodness Pauline got to him and in effect rescued him from that little dungeon for a badger.

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And that's really what the work here at Secret World is all about.

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Rescuing animals and getting them back out into an environment where they can thrive once again.

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Later, a new life for the cats who almost starved to death.

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Thank you for giving them the home they deserve.

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Chris, thank you for getting them out.

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In the last year alone, microchipping helped reunite 29 cats with their owners here.

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In London, Inspector Dawn Avery has rescued a Staffy called Blaze

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from a block of flats and the good news is, it's chipped.

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The information held on the microchip database has led Dawn to this house,

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but she's no idea whether Blaze's owner still lives here, although the initial signs are encouraging.

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Yeah. Interestingly, a picture of a Staff in the window and a Blue Cross sticker in the window.

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Oh, hello there. Sorry.

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I'm from the RSPCA. Are you Miss Verdy?

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Oh, right.

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I'm sorry about that.

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I'm only just making it quick, but I picked up a dog that was microchipped to you.

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I just wondered if you've given a dog away in the past.

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-You picked up a dog that's microchipped?

-Yeah.

-A Staff?

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-Yeah.

-My Blaze?

-Yes.

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Is it all right if we come in and have a chat?

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-Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

-Are you OK, are you?

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The owner's overwhelmed by the mere mention of her precious companion,

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who's been missing for two months.

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Please. She's my pride and joy.

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My blood pressure's going to go up.

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I was three weeks in hospital. I got home yesterday. That dog was my...

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All right. All right. Listen. Listen. Take a deep breath.

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Take a deep breath. Listen. I've got some good news.

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The police called me this morning

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and said that they had found a dog and you know in those like communal cupboards by flats

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where you have like an electric meter and stuff?

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She was in there, but she had water and she had bedding.

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We've taken her out and she's gone to the police station and I scanned her.

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And that's where microchipping is absolutely perfect,

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because had she not had a microchip, I'd never have reunited her with you.

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When she went missing, was it because she ran up the road or did somebody take her from your garden?

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I think she was taken to order, I really do.

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The police asked me this, because she's such a beautiful dog,

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did I know anybody who might take her? I said I have always thought it's a local.

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Miss Verdy has been lost without Blaze.

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It's obvious life just hasn't been the same without her.

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When I first started to get poorly, she would lie in my bed as gentle

0:20:140:20:19

as a lamb and lick away my tears and would just put her head on my broken shoulder and just never jump on it.

0:20:190:20:24

Now Dawn is making plans to bring her home.

0:20:240:20:28

You ask what it's like to get my dog back. My Blaze.

0:20:280:20:32

I can't tell you...

0:20:320:20:35

cos I don't know except...

0:20:350:20:37

..happiness is the only word.

0:20:400:20:42

Oh, do I love her? Simple as that.

0:20:420:20:45

Dawn sets off to collect

0:20:520:20:54

this most wanted pet from her temporary home in the police cells.

0:20:540:21:00

She was absolutely ecstatic because she said the dog was stolen in January.

0:21:000:21:06

PC Lowry, who found Blaze, has been looking after her since she was rescued.

0:21:060:21:11

-Blaze.

-Blaze, come here. Come here, Blaze.

0:21:110:21:13

-She's scared, though, isn't she?

-Yes.

0:21:130:21:16

I've got a biscuit in my pocket.

0:21:160:21:18

Good girl. A really different dog from this morning.

0:21:180:21:20

That was fear aggression, because she was scared, in that cupboard.

0:21:200:21:24

Do you want that? No. You say that's boring now.

0:21:240:21:26

My concern, obviously, is certainly in East London and probably

0:21:260:21:30

in most cities in the country, that it's becoming really fashionable

0:21:300:21:35

for gangs of youths to have this type of dog as a status symbol. Would you sort of agree with that?

0:21:350:21:40

I would agree, and I think that's, in this case, what's actually happened... I think, you know.

0:21:400:21:46

And unfortunately, they're used for fighting and for robberies, etc.

0:21:460:21:50

I think it's something we're very keen to try and stamp out.

0:21:500:21:54

You ready to go back in my van, then?

0:21:540:21:56

So, Blaze arrives home after being missing for two months.

0:21:560:22:00

You're home! You're home!

0:22:000:22:04

-Come on, then.

-And it doesn't take her long to get her bearings.

0:22:040:22:08

Right. See what her reaction is.

0:22:080:22:10

Come on, then. Do you recognise it?

0:22:100:22:13

Do you recognise it?

0:22:130:22:15

This way. Good girl.

0:22:150:22:18

She's pulling to the door, which is a good sign.

0:22:180:22:22

Are we home? Are we home?

0:22:220:22:25

She's quite excited, which is lovely.

0:22:250:22:27

Eh?

0:22:270:22:29

You're excited to be home!

0:22:290:22:31

Mrs Verdy, we're coming in. All right?

0:22:310:22:35

She's getting quite excited. Come on, Blaze.

0:22:350:22:38

Have you got your shoulder protected?

0:22:380:22:40

I'll hold on to her for a minute.

0:22:400:22:42

Come on, this way. This way.

0:22:420:22:45

-Oh, look!

-It's like Miss Verdy and Blaze have never been parted.

0:22:450:22:50

-Is that your mum?

-She's like this 24 hours a day!

0:22:500:22:54

I think she's quite happy to be back with you, though, don't you?

0:22:540:23:00

I've got my baby back. That's how I feel.

0:23:000:23:03

I just feel tremendous, tremendous happiness.

0:23:030:23:07

And Blaze quickly settles in to her favourite spot.

0:23:070:23:10

-Now, if you ever doubted who she belongs to...

-I know.

0:23:100:23:14

This is Blaze's way of saying "I'm home".

0:23:140:23:19

Well, what a great ending for Blaze and Mrs Verdy.

0:23:210:23:25

But now, we're back to Nottingham and Chris Shaw,

0:23:250:23:27

where earlier in the programme,

0:23:270:23:29

we saw him pick up 12 dead cats and rescue 15 others from the same fate.

0:23:290:23:35

Now, he's arrived at the vet's.

0:23:350:23:37

With so many cats to check over, it's a major operation to transport,

0:23:430:23:48

examine, feed, water and house them all.

0:23:480:23:51

Ah, look at the kittens. Look at their eyes.

0:23:510:23:55

They were ones we got first.

0:23:550:23:57

Look at the state that was... Poor things.

0:23:570:24:00

The cats all have different health issues, so care is taken to identify and take notes about each one.

0:24:000:24:07

What is this? A female, by the looks of it.

0:24:070:24:11

Even working quickly, it's a long afternoon for Chris, Dennis and the team.

0:24:110:24:17

Hello, little one.

0:24:170:24:19

I am worried about them, because I can hear that they're sneezing,

0:24:210:24:25

so I think there's a few runny noses around...and discharged eyes.

0:24:250:24:29

This one looks as though it's had a discharge.

0:24:290:24:33

There we are - you can see runny eyes there.

0:24:330:24:38

Good tear stains and the nostrils are actually blocked.

0:24:380:24:41

Can't see any fleas there. I'm just giving him some antibiotics, just to start some treatment for that.

0:24:410:24:49

We'll keep that one in overnight.

0:24:490:24:51

It's the teeth here.

0:24:510:24:53

If you look at the base here, the gum is eroded,

0:24:530:24:56

these cheek teeth are absolutely filthy and disgusting.

0:24:560:24:59

Most cats have ailments that are treatable,

0:24:590:25:03

but some are in a much worse state.

0:25:030:25:06

-This one does not look so good.

-Yep.

0:25:060:25:09

This one does not look at all good. His skin is taut.

0:25:090:25:13

-He looks possibly dehydrated.

-Very snuffly, isn't he?

-He's not very good.

0:25:130:25:17

It's a good job we did get in and get those ones out, but still...

0:25:170:25:22

still I wished I'd have got there sooner.

0:25:220:25:25

But you can only do the best you can do, can't you?

0:25:250:25:28

Nine months later - out of the 16 cats rescued, 15 survived, and they've all found new homes.

0:25:340:25:42

Now Chris is on his way to meet Sandy Hawkins, who adopted two of them.

0:25:420:25:47

Are you there? You all right?

0:25:470:25:50

-Hi, Chris. How are you?

-I'm all right.

0:25:500:25:53

-Good. Nice to see you.

-And you.

0:25:530:25:55

-Well, let's go and see the cats.

-Here we are, Chris.

0:25:550:25:58

There's our pussy cats.

0:25:580:26:00

So, they're in here, are they?

0:26:000:26:02

-They are.

-Wow! Wow! What a difference.

0:26:020:26:05

Got a little bit bigger.

0:26:050:26:06

They have. And which one's which, then?

0:26:060:26:09

That's Honey.

0:26:090:26:10

-Hello, Honey.

-And big girl, Biscuit.

0:26:100:26:13

And they obviously get on quite well, then.

0:26:130:26:17

Tremendously. There's one for you.

0:26:170:26:19

Ready?

0:26:190:26:21

-Come on, then.

-Wow!

-And she'll do this all day.

0:26:230:26:28

Seriously? Go and play fetch, kind of thing?

0:26:280:26:30

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

0:26:300:26:31

Although the cats have changed beyond all recognition,

0:26:340:26:37

they still live with reminders of their former life.

0:26:370:26:40

You can hear this one breathing, can't you, quite a bit?

0:26:400:26:43

Has she had any problems with her respiratory tracts?

0:26:430:26:46

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-She has. They think because she was ill so young,

0:26:460:26:51

that it's just sort of a little bit of damage she's got.

0:26:510:26:56

Sandy has given Honey and Biscuit a totally fresh start.

0:26:560:27:01

To help understand her cats better, she's keen to know just how appalling their lives used to be,

0:27:010:27:07

and Chris has brought her some photos, taken by the RSPCA during the rescue.

0:27:070:27:13

They are quite horrific pictures, so have you got a strong stomach?

0:27:130:27:17

-I have.

-You have.

0:27:170:27:18

-Disgusting.

-That's the downstairs hallway.

0:27:200:27:23

-That's the carcass, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:27:250:27:28

Distressing, isn't it, really?

0:27:280:27:31

It is.

0:27:320:27:34

I'm so glad, I'm so proud and honoured...to have these cats.

0:27:360:27:43

-It does make them precious... more precious.

-Exactly.

0:27:430:27:48

Thank you for having them, and thank you for giving them the home they deserve.

0:27:480:27:53

Chris, thank you for getting them out.

0:27:530:27:55

In the end, the previous owner of the cats wasn't prosecuted

0:28:030:28:07

because of fears over her mental health and age.

0:28:070:28:11

But prosecution isn't the primary goal of these rescuers.

0:28:110:28:14

It's animal welfare.

0:28:140:28:16

So, if you know of a creature that's the victim of cruelty or neglect,

0:28:160:28:20

remember, there are people out there

0:28:200:28:22

who'll answer your call right around the clock.

0:28:220:28:25

They are who we meet on Animal 24/7.

0:28:250:28:28

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:480:28:51

E-mail [email protected]

0:28:510:28:54

Series following the people fighting to protect Britain's wildlife and pets. RSPCA Inspector Chris Shaw makes a grisly discovery in a house of horrors, a stolen dog is reunited with its owner and presenter Tom Heap helps rescue a badger from a backyard.


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