Series following the people fighting to protect Britain's wildlife and pets. The RSPCA is on the case of a puppy with a broken leg, and a team battles to save an orphaned porpoise.
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Britain's animals are under threat.
All too often, our wildlife and domestic pets
are the victims of cruelty, persecution and neglect.
Animal 24/7 is with the people trying to save them.
Rescue for the puppy with an untreated injury.
It seems to be in quite a lot of distress.
Broken leg's pretty painful.
The battle to save a baby porpoise.
Because it's been out of the water, the skin's starting to crack.
It's just 50-50.
And the deadly trap that left these chicks orphaned.
-The bird would eventually die from shock or hypothermia.
Out of all our animals, it's the babies that need the most attention.
These puppies were brought into the RSPCA
here in Bradford seriously underfed.
And they're just a handful of the 3,000 or so animals
that are brought into this centre every year.
It's hard to believe that people
could mistreat or neglect such cute animals, but it does happen.
In north London, the search is on for a puppy with a broken leg.
A local vet has called the RSPCA to say his owners have ignored
appointments to get the fracture treated.
Imara and Clare have been told the owner keeps the puppy in these flats.
-From the sides.
-Yeah, she came down here.
That's why I was confused about the layout then.
This is a serious case.
The puppy will be in agony.
There's no time for a soft approach.
The police have been called.
They can legally break into the flat and seize the dog.
It's the police.
Because of your dog, we've got a power to force entry if you don't come and open the door.
There's no response. Time for action.
The team begins to search the flat for the puppy.
You've got a dog lead on the floor here, puppy lead.
Is that a puppy crate?
Attempt at a puppy crate here, attempt at a puppy crate in there.
The dogs aren't here.
The dogs aren't here.
-Any idea where he lives at all?
Imara is now extremely concerned about this little dog's welfare.
It's in such a horrific condition.
A dog with a broken femur, I can't imagine how much pain
it could be going through at the moment,
and the fact that it must be being walked everywhere and, that way,
putting more and more pressure on it and causing even more pain to it
and making it just all the worse, because they can't take it to a vet, and I don't understand quite why.
Imara and Clare are desperate to find the puppy.
They call the police to see if there's any other information
that might indicate where it's been taken.
Let me take the address from you.
OK, what's the address?
The police tell Imara they've found an address linked to the puppy.
Lovely. OK, I'll see you soon.
We have got an address for the owner's son now, so we will be going
straight over to that one and hopefully the dogs will be there.
Imara and Clare head directly to the second address.
This time, it sounds like they may be in luck.
Oh, dogs are here!
-And even better news - the puppy is here, too.
We need to see that puppy, so just bring the puppy out and put the dogs in the back, yeah?
I know the one you need to look at.
Lovely. It's just that one that we need to look at.
We'd like you to co-operate, otherwise we have got the power to come in.
The owner is given no choice but to let the RSPCA in.
Is it going to be all right with me?
Yes, she's all right. They're all all right, but they jump up.
Oh, are you a jumper?
Once inside, Imara sees the puppy.
The search may be over,
but Imara now has to decide what's best for the dog.
The puppy was supposed to have gone in for an amputation yesterday at Blue Cross.
The puppy has seen a vet who recommended the leg was amputated.
But the owner wanted a second opinion.
Three days on, and it appears the leg still hasn't been treated.
For Imara, leaving the puppy to suffer simply isn't acceptable.
What we're gonna do with the dog,
I'm going to take it to the RSPCA in Harmsworth.
We'll leave it there for them to assess it, look at it
and then you go and pick it up and do it that way.
After 30 minutes, the owner finally agrees the puppy can be taken.
Clare's frustrated that the injury has been left and doesn't want to waste any more time.
Hurry up, we need to get that pup to the vet.
The puppy, nicknamed Sam, is just a few months old.
Can you put him straight in there then.
It's really sore, isn't it? Look at that silly bandage on you, eh?
At the RSPCA animal hospital, he's rushed straight through to the examination room.
Sam can't walk and is swaddled in a makeshift bandage.
His leg has been left untreated for days
and this could damage his chances of a full recovery.
He's making quite a lot of noise.
It seems to be in quite a lot of distress.
Broken leg's pretty painful, so I guess it's pretty bad.
It's a real big sigh of relief to know that it's here and it's
in some capable hands and someone will be treating it
and it won't be in the pain that it was in before.
We want to keep an eye on it for the next 24 hours to see how it's going.
We'll give it some anti-inflammatories,
or the vets will, and we'll just keep an eye on it.
We might be able to operate, but we won't be able to tell until
the swelling has gone down, we've got some X-rays.
So it's just watch this space, really, for the next 24/48 hours.
It's been a busy day for such a tiny puppy and it's not over yet.
Sam now has to undergo critical examinations to determine how serious the injury is.
It looks like there could easily be a fracture.
Very painful and the bone doesn't feel normal.
Just like humans, baby animals rely on their mothers
for food, comfort and security.
So if their parents die or they become separated from them,
the little ones' lives are often in danger, too.
Luckily, there are rescuers out there who will try to save them,
but it's almost always a pretty difficult job.
Spurn Point - one of the most remote spots in Britain.
Stretching out into the North Sea at the mouth of the Humber Estuary,
it's been designated a nature reserve and is a haven for wildlife.
On the beach, an emergency is unfolding.
A porpoise has beached herself and died,
leaving her now orphaned calf fighting for its life nearby.
A team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue
is trying to save the baby.
Alan Stewart is looking at the mother
for clues as to what went wrong.
There are no visible marks on it at all, which is relatively unusual.
They normally have some sort of bumps and scrapes.
The only visible sign is that it is very thin. And as you can see here
this is where the lumbar muscle is and that's concave, which is a classic sign
that there is something wrong.
It won't be till, when or if it goes to post-mortem
we'll actually find out what the problem's been.
The team don't know why the adult
beached itself, but the strong bond between porpoises and their young has left her calf in real trouble.
Neil Ray is trying to keep the animal alive under the anxious watch of onlookers.
We believe it's dehydrated.
Very emaciated, he's very thin.
His eyes are closed, which isn't a good sign, and also he's shivering, so he's hypothermic.
He's got quite a good breathing pattern at the moment.
It's just all the other factors that are against it - dehydration, malnutrition, hypothermia.
We think that mum's come ashore and brought the baby with it and obviously the baby's
still with mum and not doing very well at all without mum.
It looks like the porpoises are suffering from malnutrition.
Stocks of their favourite food, sand eel, have plummeted
in the North Sea, leaving many marine animals vulnerable.
We believe it's a yearling, probably from June last year.
If you notice the wrinkling on the skin,
it's usually a sign of dehydration.
There's no telling really how long it's been
without a feed or without water.
It gets all its liquids from the food that they eat.
Obviously if this one's still weaned with its mum, there's no knowing
the last time it had something to eat or got some fluid into it.
There is a slim chance of survival if the porpoise can be refloated.
A vet's on his way.
He'll decide whether the calf is strong enough
to live without his mother.
But Spurn Point is secluded. He could be hours away.
With every passing minute, the calf is getting weaker.
The problem with porpoises, they're very, very skittish.
We're lucky that this one hasn't gone into shock yet.
They're normally well into shock by now.
They go into death-throes, which is like a...
like a seizure spasm and they just close their blowhole and die.
With the vet still miles away, the animal's condition suddenly worsens.
The calf has been out of the water for several hours.
His skin is beginning to suffer.
Neil and his team are well trained to deal with this situation, but they must act quickly.
Because it's been out of the water, the skin's starting to crack,
so what I'm going to try to do is make it as comfortable as we can,
keep the skin wet and also put some K-Y Jelly round the blowhole.
It stops the blowhole from cracking.
Obviously the blowhole is where it breathes from,
so if it gets water in there, then it's in trouble.
You've got to give it every chance until the vet arrives
and see what happens when the vet arrives.
Any hope of saving this porpoise is slipping away with every minute.
He's now very frail.
And if the vet says he's too ill to survive on his own in the sea,
there's little that can be done for him.
It's very frustrating because, usually with seals, we've rescued so many seals over the years
and generally, if they're too ill to refloat, we can take them to the sea life centre where there's a hospital
there and they get antibiotics and get fed, and within six, seven months, they can be refloated.
Obviously there's not really a rescue centre that we know of for porpoises,
because they're a really skittish animal to try and keep.
It's just 50-50. Sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not.
Neil and his team have done all they can.
It will now be the vet's decision whether the porpoise can return to the sea.
But he's still an hour away and, as the team wait,
this baby porpoise's life hangs in the balance.
If it's a question between giving it a chance and euthanizing it,
I'd prefer to give it a chance, but I do think the chances are poor of its surviving.
Many of the kittens here are orphans being raised by staff
at this centre, and their commitment is typical of rescuers
who often go to great lengths to rear young animals.
I'm off to the West Midlands to meet a team who are trying to get two falcon chicks back into the wild
after their parents were deliberately killed.
The magnificent peregrine falcon is thriving in many areas of the UK,
but that's not the case in the West Midlands.
A number of birds here are falling victim to criminals
who seem determined to stamp them out.
Hello, hello. So who's who here?
-Hello, Tom. I'm Guy from the RSPB.
-I'm Keith from Raptor Rescue.
Nice to see you. My ears betray the fact that your birds are in here.
Yes, two lovely peregrine chicks in here ready to go back via the RSPB into the wild, hopefully.
These two are the offspring of a pair of urban peregrines.
However, someone went to great lengths to ensure these helpless chicks became orphans.
This is a perfectly legal trap and is used by gamekeepers and farmers etc.
But it's used to control things like rats and stoats and weasels.
The idea is you set it underground where non-target animals and cats and birds can't get caught.
But what somebody had done is set these actually on the nest ledge.
So someone had deliberately put that there in order to kill the adult birds?
Yeah, absolutely. You needed rope equipment to get into the site,
so it was a deliberate, planned effort to try and get these birds.
Although the first traps were removed, they were quickly replaced and, tragically for the chicks,
the trappers succeeded second time around.
Once caught, the adult peregrines stood little chance of survival.
You can imagine a bird landing on that plate there.
It's a powerful spring.
Probably shatter the bird's leg, certainly hold it
and the bird would eventually die from shock or hypothermia.
Traps aren't the only threat to peregrines in the West Midlands.
They've also been shot.
Guy believes its part of a sustained and determined campaign.
We've had information that we're looking at eight sites in the Birmingham area
and that this has been going on for the last two or three years.
But in this particular case, and following the phone calls, we're pretty certain that it's
a disgruntled element from the pigeon racing community.
Peregrines and other birds of prey take some of their racing pigeons.
Left alone, this pair would have starved to death.
But thanks to the RSPB, and the Raptor Centre, they're now to be
returned to the wild in the nest of two unsuspecting foster families.
Fortunately for us, Peregrines can't count, so the plan is to take one of these chicks and put them into each
of the two sites and, hopefully, after we leave, the parents will come back and go, "Oh, OK,"
and carry on feeding the birds.
Peregrines prefer to nest in high places, so this craggy cliff face
in a secret location is the perfect spot to raise young.
It took a nationwide search to find this foster nest, and now I've been
roped in to help introduce the chick to its new family.
There's two chicks apparently in that nest and the plan is today, we'll safely get you down this
cliff-face and you'll then transfer the single chick onto the nest ledge to join its two foster siblings.
It's not going to be any easy delivery.
Just getting to the nest site will be a challenge for me,
so fortunately abseiling expert James is caring for the chick.
-Good to go?
-You're all good to go.
Bird bag and safety equipment in place, we're ready.
But before we can abseil down, we've got to climb up.
Here we go. Bit of a scramble.
The peregrines' best defence against persecution is the inaccessibility of their nesting sites.
And at closer inspection, this secret spot looks ideal for our first orphaned chick.
So we've come down this far and I think we can just see into the nest.
We can, yeah. If you just look over, you can see the ledge where the peregrines have decided to nest.
You can see all their remains, prey remains and a bit of faeces.
That's a tell-tale sign that these birds have got young and they're quite large now.
With the adult birds away, we can drop in on the peregrine chicks and drop off their new baby brother.
I've brought along a special camera to get the perfect bird's-eye view of this amazing first meeting.
I just hope there's no sibling rivalry.
A new family member.
There he is.
The youngster's a little nervy, but thankfully James is here to point him in the right direction.
And there we go.
Three quite happy
and healthy peregrine chicks.
The one we just introduced is a bit smaller. Does that matter?
Not really at this age. They're all pretty healthy, pretty capable.
Mum and dad obviously left them to go hunting.
These can look after themselves and they should be fine.
I'd say he does look right at home.
It does, doesn't it? Absolutely fantastic.
He belongs here.
They look like the perfect happy family already.
Just squawking to let me know that he's had enough
of my presence, so I'd better leave them to it.
But it's a great result.
With the chicks settling in nicely, it's time to abseil down.
James and Guy will head off to re-home the second orphaned chick
later on, but for me that's the end of my perfect peregrine day.
Still to come... Sam the injured puppy undergoes critical surgery.
The fracture's come together quite nicely.
It went as well as can be expected.
And I'm pleased to say the young peregrines
are now thriving in their new nest.
The investigation to find who killed their parents is continuing.
Now it's time to check up on the orphaned porpoise
fighting for its life at Spurn Point in Lincolnshire.
The mother beached herself on this remote nature reserve and died,
leaving her calf to fend for itself.
Three hours have passed since British diver Neil Ray
and his colleagues began trying to save the porpoise.
Now vet, Philippe van der Riet, has arrived.
He will decide whether the calf can survive without its mother.
Neil gives him as much information as possible so the vet can make the right decision.
We got a call about 3.20 to say there was three porpoises, two dead
and one alive on the Humber, and this was in the water, actually getting rolled in the water.
OK. Is it struggling a lot or is it quite settled?
No, it's actually quite settled.
We brought it up in the back of a four-wheel-drive because of the accessibility
for you to have a look at, because the tide was coming in and was going to cut off where it was stuck.
-Was it making any effective swimming movements while it was in the water?
-In the water, yes.
Its tail was going and we thought that it was a viable rescue.
Right, let's have a look at it.
With its breathing stable, Philippe then checks for any signs of injury.
-And have you seen any bleeding, signs of trauma?
He runs through the options with team member Alan Stewart.
If it's a question between giving it a chance and euthanizing it,
I'd prefer to give it a chance,
but I do think the chances are poor of its surviving.
Philippe decides he needs a second opinion.
He's only treated dolphins in the past
and wants even more specialist advice.
Can I speak to him?
Neil continues to look after the porpoise.
His dedication to saving marine wildlife never falters.
Dolphins and porpoises - it's a lovely feeling when you rescue them.
The only problem is, I get very emotional.
I tend to get tears in my eyes.
You've stayed with them for 18 hours, maybe 20 hours,
trying to get them refloated back into the sea and they just go.
It's a huge pat on the back because you've given it another chance.
Now he's hoping this rescue will also end with a release.
Urm, the vet seems to think it's worth giving it a chance
at releasing it, having a go, seeing if it will erm...
make a run for it.
But he's actually on the phone to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue vet,
having a word with him, seeing what he thinks.
So, hopefully, we'll get it on its way.
Day is quickly turning into night, but the news is devastating.
The calf is only a year old and its blubber is too thin for it to survive without its mother's milk.
It can't be returned to the sea.
The only alternative is to put it to sleep.
The vet's been and had a look at it, checked out the condition of the porpoise.
They've decided that, because of the state of the blubber on the porpoise - it's at an absolute minimal -
probably the most humane thing to do is to euthanize the porpoise.
First of all, they're going to give it a sedative
just to relax the porpoise and then intravenously give it
a dose of lithocaine, which is what puts the porpoise to sleep.
-It's just sad.
-Neil's upset, but he knows the vet has made the right decision.
If we released it back into the water, the chances are it would only last maybe a week.
Without its mum, it would starve, it would dehydrate and its suffering would be immeasurable.
Probably the most humane thing to do is to put it to sleep, put it out of its misery.
After five long hours, this mission is finally over.
The team are saddened but more determined to save whatever sea life they can.
Now we're back in London with Sam, the three-month-old puppy with a broken leg.
RSPCA inspector Imara
was called by a vet's after the family missed appointments to get the dog's leg treated.
Now Sam is to be examined.
-The puppy is nervous and in pain.
-I know, sweetie.
-Vet Kish begins her examinations.
To take a closer look, she unravels the makeshift bandage.
It's kind of falling off.
I think it might have just been on for a couple of days and it looks like it's slipped.
Sam is clearly suffering and Kish tries to remove the dressing without causing him any more harm.
Puppy, don't panic. Don't panic.
I'm just basically feeling the toe bones here,
making sure that they're OK, there's no pain there.
Then just slowly move up the arm. I suspect that's where it's painful.
That's where they said the fracture was, so we'll leave that for last.
I think when we get here it's gonna hurt a bit.
Good baby, aren't you? You're very clever.
Imara continues to comfort Sam, but as Kish finds the break, it all becomes too much.
-It's swollen and painful.
-All right, puppy dog.
Here it looks like there could easily be a fracture.
There's a bit of swelling,
very painful, and the bone doesn't feel normal.
Kish needs to do an X-ray to confirm whether Sam's leg is in fact broken.
The puppy is sedated to prevent any more discomfort.
One hour later, the results are back.
Only a clean break can be treated.
This is the main fracture, so it has actually fractured straight across the bone.
We can try and fix it.
Puppies' bones are very delicate, so it will be very delicate surgery.
It might work.
The vets decide Sam deserves a chance and agree to operate.
The frightened puppy is comforted as he's carried to theatre.
For such a young dog, this is an extremely tricky procedure.
But after all the efforts,
Imara feels it's worth taking the risk.
We don't really want it to be under anaesthetic for too long,
so we really need this one to work.
We don't have to put it under anaesthetic again to amputate it if it doesn't work.
But there is a good chance that this will work, so basically just a case
of biding some time and waiting and hoping that everything will be OK.
After a long and complicated operation,
Sam is brought out of theatre and left to recover.
Yet again, Imara is there to comfort him.
It's an anxious time as surgeon Sebastien Pryor takes a look at how things have gone.
So you see from the X-rays that we took after the puppy came in,
it's got quite a nasty break to the end of his humerus here.
We were able to repair that with some little metal pins.
You can see by the smooth line, it's aligned well.
The fracture's come together quite nicely.
It went as well as can be expected.
It's a young, healthy puppy, so it's effectively a healing machine.
As long as we immobilise the bone and allow it to be still, that should heal very well.
I would hope that within three, four weeks, he'll be using that leg relatively normally.
He's got quite a good long-term outlook.
Three weeks later, Sam has stayed at the RSPCA hospital to give his fracture time to heal.
Now Sebastien is about to check whether his operation has worked.
Feeling his leg now, you can feel a nice big lump of bone over the fracture site, which is a callous.
The bone's healing well, he's using the leg well
and it looks like there'll be a satisfactory outcome.
With the fracture healing, Sebastien now needs to know if Sam is able to walk.
OK, so if we just see how he's using that leg, I'll have him walking around.
You can see that he's tender.
He's still limping on that leg.
I'd expect that probably to go on for the next three, four weeks, getting less with time.
He's using the leg well, he's putting weight on it
and he's placing it in the right fashion, so that's good news.
Sam has a real spring in his step and soon he'll be off home.
His owners have learnt their lesson and offered to pay for his treatment.
After working with them, the RSPCA believe the best place for Sam is back with his family.
He needs to start doing the things that normal puppies do -
play and eat and get on with his owners.
He needs to do that at home rather than in a hospital.
He's been a perfect patient, really.
And for the first time in weeks, Sam is full of beans and behaving much more like a puppy should.
Remember, if you know of a creature that's the victim of cruelty, persecution and neglect,
there are people out there who'll answer your call around the clock.
They are who we meet on Animal 24/7.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Series following people fighting to protect Britain's pets and wildlife.
The RSPCA is on the case of a puppy with a broken leg, a team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue battles to save an orphaned porpoise, and presenter Tom Heap introduces a pair of peregrine chicks to an unsuspecting foster family.