Episode 17 Animal 24:7


Episode 17

Tom Heap is on the road with the dangerous dogs squad, goes behind the scenes with the RSPCA's mobile vet clinic and meets the people who play surrogate mums to some tiny orphans.


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Transcript


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Britain's animals are under threat.

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All too often, our wildlife and domestic pets

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are the victims of cruelty, persecution and neglect.

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Fighting to save them is a dedicated band of people

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trying to protect and care for them right around the clock.

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This is Animal 24:7.

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In the air, on land and in the water,

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Britain is a haven for animals.

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But when they come up against man, their lives are often in danger.

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From our cramped inner cities to our fields and hedgerows,

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from the highest moorland to the coast and beyond,

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Animal 24:7 is with the people working around the clock

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to save endangered wildlife and protect vulnerable pets.

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These are their stories.

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Today on Animal 24:7 -

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DOG GROWLS

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Bronx, stop it!

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A family pet or a threat to the public?

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On the road with the dangerous dog team.

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Thank you very much, gents.

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A powerful dog.

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At the mobile vet clinic, Oddball shows he's fighting fit.

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Whoa! Oh, feisty!

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Now we're seeing what she can do.

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And motherly love - playing surrogate mum to some tiny orphans.

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He's very good, actually.

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He doesn't cry, hardly.

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Perfect baby.

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Now, if people want to own a dangerous or aggressive dog,

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they have to follow the strictest of rules.

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In London, a specialist squad called BARK, Brent Action for

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Responsible K9s, has been set up to monitor these owners.

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As well as ensuring people abide by the rules,

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they also crack down on those who mistreat their pets.

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But all too often, they end up working with people who continually

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flout the law and fail to give their animals the care

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and attention they need.

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8am, Wembley, and the BARK unit has gathered at their HQ.

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The team is preparing to mount a raid to seize a dangerous dog.

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PC Simon Underwood briefs the officers.

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Good morning, everybody.

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Welcome to today's BARK patrol.

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The first item on the agenda this morning is we're going to have to go

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and execute a warrant under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

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This raid concerns a pit bull called Bronx.

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His owner's been warned that if he wants to keep the dog, he has to be castrated and muzzled in public.

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But the orders have been ignored, so now Bronx is going to be taken away.

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It's running all around the communal areas. It's defecating in the stairwells.

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The intention this morning is to enter the premises.

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This is a compulsory borough to wear body armour.

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PC Underwood is supported by RSPCA's chief Jan Eachus,

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Angela Marousy from Brent council, Claire Harper from the Mayhew Animal Home

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and police dog handlers, who can't be identified because of the sensitive nature of their job.

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This chap has left us with little choice but to go and seize the dog for a court to make a decision,

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because we can't have him jumping all over residents.

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We now know it's the type commonly known as a pit bull terrier,

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so bear that in mind.

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Pit bulls can't be re-homed,

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so they're only seized as a last resort.

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But all previous attempts to get the owner to act responsibly have failed and the public safety is at risk.

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The dog's a very active one. He's allowing it out without a lead,

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without a muzzle, doesn't really have control over it.

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It's a real possibility to a danger to other dogs and other cats that live in the neighbourhood.

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But it really is a sad state of affairs.

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It's not something that anybody really is going to relish.

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It's also reported the owner may be over disciplining his pet.

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The team move into position.

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The officers suspect the dog is a pit bull terrier.

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Seizing it is a dangerous job. Despite many years of experience,

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veteran dog handler Jan is never complacent.

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There's always a possibility of somebody getting bit.

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These dogs can be...

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They can be very nice. He was nice last time.

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But for any number of reasons,

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the dog might decide this time that he's not happy with it.

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So I never go in without being nervous. Never.

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This is an unpredictable scenario, so the team's safety is crucial.

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Jan will also ensure that it's as humane as possible for the dog.

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The team's first job is to see if anyone's at home.

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KNOCKS ON DOOR

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It's the police. Can you come and open the door, please?

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With no answer, Simon heads outside to check the windows for signs of movement.

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I just think that there may be somebody in, because all the curtains are still closed.

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Do you know if anybody's in?

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For several weeks now, Bronx has been terrorising this tower block,

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running amok in the communal areas.

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I've been banging on all the windows. The dog's not coming to the window,

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so I'm presuming he's just in the hallway bit here.

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-That's where, his bed is just there.

-Where is that door?

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Bronx is standing just behind the door.

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Now the team must break in to get him, but they need to be on their guard.

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Right, move out the way.

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This dog could attack.

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Simon tries to keep him calm.

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Good boy, Bronx.

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Obstruction removed, Jan and Simon cautiously enter.

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Good boy. That's a good boy.

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Good boy, Bronx. Good boy.

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Bronx seems calm and is easily caught, but this is a powerful dog,

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so the team have to be cautious.

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He's quickly led out using graspers,

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but then Bronx becomes spooked and makes a frenzied attempt to escape.

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DOG YELPS

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Good boy. Good boy.

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With a dog of this strength and size, it takes two handlers to finally restrain him.

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Bronx, stop it.

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Here, come on. Come on!

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Don't be silly. Good dog.

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You're all right. Good boy. Good lad.

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Jan manages to settle him, but is keen to get him to the van as quickly as possible.

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Bronx is finally calming down after his ordeal, but the team was given no alternative.

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Thank you very much, gents.

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Powerful dog.

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If we take a dog out on a lead, and it is quiet possible we could have,

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but what happens if coming out the door, the dog decided that he didn't like what was happening?

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We'd have absolutely no control over a strange dog, then we would have had an even more serious situation.

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So momentarily, yes, the dog was probably terrified.

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I feel upset about it. I always do, every time this situation happens, but that's part of my duties.

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The only thing I can do is to make sure, under the circumstances, that

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we treat the dog as humanely as we possibly can under the circumstances.

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Bronx is taken to kennels at a secret location.

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He won't be allowed back home unless his owner proves he can look after him properly.

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Later...

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DOG BARKS

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..the team come face to face with Rocky, another dog who's not being kept under control.

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With owning a dog comes great responsibility, and none of this is Rocky's fault.

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'And what will the future hold for Oscar, a little boy's much-loved hamster?'

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-It's a bit of a worry.

-Yeah. He were giving him a kiss and a cuddle this morning,

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and thinking that he wasn't coming back, but...

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In springtime, as the animal population explodes,

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the UK's rescue centres are inundated with orphaned babies.

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Hand-rearing newborns and infants is a demanding and time-consuming job.

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And for those who play the part of surrogate mum, it's often hard not to get attached.

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Secret World wildlife rescue centre in Somerset has

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been taking in sick and injured animals for more than 20 years.

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Over 1,000 orphans that would otherwise

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have died have been fostered by founder Pauline Kinder and her team.

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It's always lovely having babies coming in in the spring and to eventually see them go.

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I expect that's part of the privilege of our job really,

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which is why so many of us really enjoy doing it.

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Pauline's kitchen doubles as a maternity ward.

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Today, volunteers Michelle and Rachel are preparing breakfast for their latest delivery.

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A litter of three-week-old grey squirrels

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-were abandoned by their mother after their nest was destroyed.

-Have to see which one's which.

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The girls will now become their surrogate mothers and take responsibility

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for all the kittens' needs, from bottles to bathing and even burping.

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Because they've got their eyes closed, they need a lot of intensive care, frequent feeds,

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which is why we've split the two, so that there's two carers with two babies each, because

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as much as possible we want that one carer to look after the babies.

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It's interesting just watching them here, sat at the table,

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how each girl is holding their syringe a different way.

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They're feeding the baby the way that's most comfortable for them.

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It shows you how important it is if that baby gets to know one routine

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that isn't going to change and, therefore, they're going to do a lot better.

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At this young age, the four siblings all look remarkably similar,

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so to help her distinguish them,

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Michelle has marked her pair with white paint.

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Once their eyes open, they'll start showing an interest in solid food.

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And once they're actually weaned, then these will be taken off both Rachel and Michelle

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and put together in an aviary, where they've got each other for company.

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Then there will be no need for human contact.

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As long as they've got space, that happens quite quickly.

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KITTEN SQUEAKS

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Yeah, you want to take him back, because he's worried now.

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Under Pauline's guidance, Michelle and Rachel are taking their roles very seriously.

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Left in the wild, the kittens would have perished.

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I like the experience,

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feeling that you're making a difference in their life

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because they've lost their mum, feeling like a mum to them.

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You get kind of protective over them, as well.

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So, loud noises, you're like, "Be quiet!"

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But, you know, you're not exactly their mum.

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-But in a way, you are.

-But a mother's work is never done,

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as our first-time foster parents have quickly had to learn.

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I feed them every three hours.

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I also do them at midnight, just before I go to bed, just to make

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sure they've got enough milk in them to last them throughout the night.

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Then I get up at six and feed them just before I go and have my breakfast.

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It's surprising with a lot of our young girls that when they have some wildlife babies to look after,

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it's a good lesson as to what it'll be like to have a real baby, when you realise,

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"Oh, I've still got to feed them when I get back from the pub."

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There's still a long way to go before the kittens will fend for themselves in the wild.

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But for now, with a full tummy, they're out like a light, and they don't even need a bedtime story.

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Over in Secret World's downstairs kitchen, another animal angel,

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Marie Denston, is tending to her own bundle of fluff.

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This is a little fox cub called Flint,

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and he was found in a field on his own by a dog walker.

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He's roughly seven to eight days old.

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His eyes are just beginning to open.

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And I'm toileting him now.

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His mother would lick him to toilet him.

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To tell them apart, you can just about see the little white tip on his tail.

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He's a very good feeder, once he's latched on to the milk.

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Once Flint is weaned, he'll be moved to an outside enclosure

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with other orphaned cubs. Marie will then have to cut the apron strings,

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so he learns how to live in the wild.

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Oh!

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Before that, Marie and Flint can enjoy the close contact this week-old orphan so needs.

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CUB WHIMPERS

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He's very good, actually. He doesn't cry, hardly.

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Even when he's hungry.

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Perfect baby.

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-But after tending to Flint's every whim...

-Oh, have you had enough?

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..it's going to be a wrench when the day comes for Marie to say goodbye.

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It is hard, but as soon as you've let go of one, another one comes in.

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And it's nice to know they're going back to the wild, where they belong.

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But until then, Marie's going to savour every single moment.

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Come on, you, back to bed.

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Still to come -

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a grown-up Flint is ready to go and shows little gratitude

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to his surrogate mum.

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Wasn't very tame then.

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He tried to bite me.

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And is Rocky's owner failing his pet?

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Have you rung the number to get a proper muzzle?

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You have done?

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You haven't ordered one yet, though.

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Making sure an animal stays healthy is the pet owner's key responsibility,

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but people often fear a trip to the vet's will be expensive, or it's inconvenient, so they put it off.

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Well, here in Lancashire, they've got a solution.

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If you won't go to the vet...

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-..the vet will come to you.

-Are you next?

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The RSPCA mobile vet service has arrived in a pub car park near Bury, Greater Manchester.

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By bringing the vet's into the community, it hoped that those people

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with difficulty travelling or paying commercial vets' bills will come along to get their animals treated.

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It's 8:30am,

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and there are already customers waiting to see vet Rachel Heaton.

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We'll check then. We'll give her some flea treatment,

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because even though I can't actually see any evidence of fleas on her,

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it doesn't mean she doesn't have them, OK?

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Outside, my eye is immediately drawn to this space-age des res.

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The hamster inside certainly looks full of life, but Emma has good reason for bringing him along.

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Well, basically, about six weeks ago my little boy noticed a little lump coming out of his ear,

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so I just took him straight to the vet's, and he said he's got a tumour in both ears,

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and he removed them then.

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So why have you brought him back in today?

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It's his left ear. It's grown back.

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I've seen it start growing, so...

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-That's a bit of a worry.

-Yeah.

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Did you say it belonged to your little boy?

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-Yeah.

-And is he concerned about it?

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He is, very. Very.

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He were giving him a kiss and a cuddle this morning,

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thinking that he wasn't coming back.

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Oscar's a much-loved child's pet.

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I'm hoping the vets can give Emma some good news.

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-So he had one removed from each ear?

-Yeah.

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From inside his ear?

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Right inside. One was in this ear. I know definitely one's in that ear.

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Right, so this is the ear that's got the tumour poking out.

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You can see that pink, fleshy tumour poking out of the ear canal there.

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It's like a sort of pink berry in there, isn't it?

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Exactly. Right, we have a couple of options here.

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We could try and remove it again.

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That was really the only kind of way we can go with treatment.

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We could leave it and see how he goes with no treatment whatsoever, but there will come a point

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where it grows to a size where you're going to have to think about having him put to sleep, really.

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Or if you don't want to go on with any treatment and you think

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it's bothering him a lot, the only other option, really, is to put him to sleep today.

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Emma's now faced with a tough decision on what to do with her son's pet.

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So it's completely up to you, really.

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Do you think it's bothering him?

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I would say at the moment, no, but the last time he got it, it started to bleed.

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When I took him on the Friday, I'd say he'd had it about a week.

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It started to bleed then and start bothering him,

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so it was only a matter of a couple of days that it started to.

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OK. So if you want us to have a go at removing it, we can do that.

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But there's no guarantee it won't come back again, because it's already come back once.

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The other ear looks OK, so it looks like that might have been a bit more successful.

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But the chances are it might come back again even if we do remove it.

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But it's a tricky decision, because he seems, Oscar, isn't it? So lively.

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We've seen him zooming round in his wheel, and he seems very healthy and happy at the moment.

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Although he looks healthy, there's no way of knowing if Oscar is in pain.

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But Emma decides to give her son's pet one final chance to pull through.

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I think 100% I'll try and get it removed for the last time.

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I think this'll be the last effort, and then if it came back, then definitely think about...

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-..putting him to sleep.

-Yeah. I don't want to keep putting him through that.

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It's not fair.

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Thankfully, that's a reprieve for Oscar.

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He'll be going to hospital to have the tumour removed.

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-Bye.

-Bye.

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Next on the vet's table is Oddball, a cute bundle of fur in need of her first examination.

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But this cat is proof that appearances can be deceptive.

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Is she going to be a good patient?

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-Hopefully, yeah.

-Hopefully?

-Hopefully. She's quite feisty.

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Because we've got another cat at home who's about six years old,

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and she fights with it, and she just seems to want to be playing all the time.

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But hopefully, that's just a kitten thing she'll grow out of.

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Right. Does she scratch a little bit to get attention?

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Definitely, yeah, and she bites you. I'm covered in scratches.

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-All of us are.

-She's so sweet!

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There's nothing wrong with Oddball. She's 12 weeks old, and Diane is hoping

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she can get all her immunisation and flea treatment done today.

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That's great. Any problems with her?

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She's very feisty. She bites and she's scratching, but I just thought it was a kitten thing.

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It is a kitten thing,

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-and it's a torty thing.

-Oh, right, yeah.

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They tend to be quite highly strung, this colour of cat.

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Kittens' claws are really, really sharp,

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so it always feels ten times worse when you're scratched by a kitten.

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-She should grow out of it.

-OK.

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If she bites you, you need to say, "No," and you need to put her out of the room for a little while. OK?

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Did you say that it was this type of cat, this colouring, that can be a little more...

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Tortoiseshells, yeah.

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There's no proof of that, but not more aggressive,

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but can be more feisty and fiery.

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We tend to find that. We have so many cats that come through our doors at the RSPCA, and the tortoiseshells

0:20:040:20:10

-are always the ones that are the most feisty and fiery.

-A bit troublesome.

0:20:100:20:14

I'm just going to have a little listen to her heart, OK? She's purring a lot.

0:20:140:20:18

So far, Oddball is playing ball, so Rachel gets down to business.

0:20:180:20:23

-OK.

-Seems good as gold at the moment.

-I know!

0:20:230:20:27

OK, well, she seems fine to me.

0:20:270:20:28

-She's in good health.

-OK.

-So we can give her her first vaccination today.

0:20:280:20:33

-Right.

-She needs another one in three weeks' time, OK?

-Yeah.

0:20:330:20:37

-And we'll also give her some flea and worming treatment.

-OK.

0:20:370:20:40

Given Oddball's reputation, experienced assistant Mandy is called in to pin her down.

0:20:420:20:48

CAT SCREECHES

0:20:480:20:50

-Whoa!

-This feline is getting wound up.

0:20:500:20:53

Mandy offers comfort, but Oddball spots an opportunity for revenge.

0:20:530:20:57

-Whoa! Now we're seeing what she can do!

-OK, do you want to just put her

0:20:570:21:01

back on the table and we'll put this flea treatment on?

0:21:010:21:03

-OK, if you avoid touching this area for the next couple of hours...

-OK.

0:21:030:21:08

So that's one ordeal over for Oddball. Fit, healthy and protected against disease.

0:21:090:21:15

Just don't go within range of that right hook.

0:21:150:21:18

Still to come, Flint the orphaned fox cub has come of age.

0:21:250:21:30

All right, Flinty, this is your moment.

0:21:300:21:32

How will he take to life in the wild?

0:21:320:21:36

In time, he'll find himself a mate

0:21:360:21:40

and there'll be little Flints running around.

0:21:400:21:44

Now we're back to north-west London and the BARK project.

0:21:470:21:51

The unit aim to crack down on irresponsible owners of so-called

0:21:510:21:55

dangerous dogs, working to educate those who mistreat their animals.

0:21:550:22:00

But they also target people who fail to keep their pets in check.

0:22:000:22:05

We rejoin them as they're about to deal with another

0:22:050:22:08

threatening animal, Rocky, a Rottweiler out of control.

0:22:080:22:12

-Angela, do we know if it's going to be on the left or the right?

-Turn down here.

0:22:210:22:25

PC Simon Underwood and the rest of the BARK team are on their way to

0:22:250:22:28

see an owner who appeared in court six weeks ago after his Rottweiler, Rocky, bit a member of the public.

0:22:280:22:34

DOG BARKS

0:22:340:22:36

Rocky has a history of aggression towards strangers,

0:22:360:22:39

so RSPCA chief inspector Jan Eachus is taking the necessary precautions.

0:22:390:22:44

The padded arm is just to give some protection.

0:22:440:22:47

I wouldn't normally take it with me, but I know what the dog is like.

0:22:470:22:52

It's because he hasn't been socialised or had any training input,

0:22:520:22:55

which is a shame, because he's now at a size where he's almost uncontrollable.

0:22:550:22:59

And he's very territorial. Although it's been castrated, it's not taken that much effect yet.

0:22:590:23:04

Following Rocky's recent attack, the court ruled that the owner

0:23:040:23:08

could only keep him if certain conditions were met.

0:23:080:23:11

Rocky must be muzzled in public, attend training classes and undergo behaviour therapy.

0:23:140:23:20

Hello. Sorry to disturb you.

0:23:200:23:23

It's nothing to worry about.

0:23:230:23:25

We're from the BARK project.

0:23:250:23:27

-Do you remember your son went to court...

-Yeah.

0:23:270:23:29

..about Rocky because of what happened when he ran out the gate?

0:23:290:23:33

Rocky's very dangerous.

0:23:330:23:36

-Sorry, what did you say? "Rocky's very dangerous"?

-No, in case somebody come in here...

0:23:360:23:41

Yeah, OK. Would you mind just locking the door?

0:23:410:23:43

Because last time, he jumped up to try and open it.

0:23:430:23:46

Thank you very much. Thank you.

0:23:460:23:47

Even Mum's saying he's very dangerous.

0:23:470:23:50

She wanted to give us the dog when we came, but the son wanted to go to court.

0:23:500:23:55

The owner's mother lets the team inside so they can observe Rocky

0:23:570:24:01

from the safety of the French windows.

0:24:010:24:03

With strangers in his home, Rocky instinctively goes on the offensive.

0:24:050:24:10

It's instantly clear how threatening this dog can be.

0:24:130:24:16

-Rocky! Rocky!

-Shall we go in the other room?

0:24:160:24:21

Obviously, Rocky naturally is going to want to defend his territory.

0:24:210:24:26

-He's getting a bit wound up. We're out of sight and it won't upset him.

-Good boy, Rocky.

0:24:260:24:30

-Good boy.

-Rocky...

0:24:300:24:32

Simon now wants to talk to the owner to find out if the court's orders have been followed.

0:24:320:24:37

OK, are you able to get your son on the phone so I can speak with him, please?

0:24:370:24:41

He's busy at the moment.

0:24:410:24:43

Madam, I need to speak to your son.

0:24:430:24:45

-Yeah.

-I appreciate that he's busy.

0:24:450:24:48

-I know we've all got to go to work, but this is an order from the court.

-Yeah, OK.

0:24:480:24:54

And it has to be dealt with.

0:24:540:24:56

It's not something that can be put off indefinitely.

0:24:560:25:00

With Rocky's owner contacted, Jan leads the questioning.

0:25:000:25:05

Hello, sir. This is the chief inspector that was around to see you before.

0:25:050:25:10

Now, first question, what training class are you going to?

0:25:100:25:16

So in other words, you're not going to a training class.

0:25:160:25:18

OK. Second question,

0:25:190:25:21

have you had an animal behaviourist around to your house to help you with the dog?

0:25:210:25:27

OK, so no is the answer to that.

0:25:270:25:29

You need to think twice about this question.

0:25:290:25:31

Every time you take the dog out, it's on a muzzle?

0:25:310:25:34

Has he rung the number I gave him?

0:25:340:25:35

OK. Have you rung the number to get a proper muzzle that the officer gave you?

0:25:350:25:40

You have done?

0:25:410:25:44

You haven't ordered one yet, though?

0:25:440:25:46

I think what will have to happen,

0:25:460:25:49

because these are all reasonable things that a magistrate ordered you to do

0:25:490:25:55

as the owner and so far, you have failed to do them.

0:25:550:25:58

The owner has ignored all the court's orders.

0:26:010:26:03

This is a serious breach of the rules.

0:26:030:26:06

So I will have to go back to the court and then we'll have to go from there.

0:26:060:26:11

Rocky is a family pet, but he can be aggressive.

0:26:110:26:15

By ignoring the courts, his owner is putting his future in doubt.

0:26:150:26:19

He's like a child. He came to the home as a baby.

0:26:190:26:22

-Yeah, I appreciate that, but...

-We don't want to kill him...

0:26:220:26:25

-But with owning a dog comes great responsibility.

-Yeah.

0:26:250:26:29

And none of this is Rocky's fault.

0:26:290:26:31

-Mmm.

-And now Rocky is looking potentially at being put down if the court made that decision.

0:26:310:26:37

Whether the court would agree for somebody to re-home him I don't know, because it's not like we could say

0:26:370:26:42

he's a nice, friendly dog that could be re-homed with an experienced Rottweiler owner.

0:26:420:26:47

-Mmm.

-He's got issues.

-Yeah.

0:26:470:26:50

-He's already bitten somebody, and he's bitten them badly.

-Yeah.

0:26:500:26:53

-We would have to disclose that.

-Mmm.

0:26:530:26:55

We'll leave you in peace. We'll let you know what's happening.

0:26:550:26:58

Coping with such a challenging pet is stressful for the whole family.

0:26:580:27:02

But as Rocky is unlikely to be re-homed,

0:27:020:27:05

his owners are understandably reluctant to give him up.

0:27:050:27:08

Now the magistrate will decide if Rocky can remain in their care.

0:27:080:27:13

Two dogs dealt with, but the day's far from over.

0:27:170:27:20

The law stops people owning certain breeds unless the owner has a licence.

0:27:200:27:25

The team patrol the streets on the lookout for these dogs,

0:27:250:27:28

and it isn't long before they spot a potential suspect.

0:27:280:27:32

-Who's this little one, then?

-Her name's Crystal.

-Hello, Crystal!

0:27:320:27:35

You're a soppy dog, aren't you?

0:27:350:27:36

Jan examines the dog for microchip ID.

0:27:360:27:40

-She's chipped, she's chipped.

-Oh, fab. Brilliant.

0:27:400:27:43

She is chipped, yeah. She is chipped, yeah.

0:27:430:27:45

-What breed is she?

-She's a bull mastiff cross.

0:27:450:27:49

Do you know what she's crossed with?

0:27:490:27:52

A Staff.

0:27:520:27:54

Bull mastiff crosses are not on the list of banned breeds,

0:27:540:27:57

and the team are satisfied that Crystal is good-natured.

0:27:570:28:00

But they are concerned that she may not be in the best of health.

0:28:000:28:03

-She's got grass seeds in her paw. I've got to take her to the vet.

-Do you know how long she's had that?

0:28:030:28:09

Um, she's had it about a couple of weeks.

0:28:090:28:12

It's frustrating that Crystal's owner,

0:28:120:28:15

Julie hasn't taken her to see a vet.

0:28:150:28:17

But she keeps licking them.

0:28:170:28:20

But otherwise, she seems a happy and friendly dog.

0:28:200:28:23

It's being managed and controlled properly.

0:28:230:28:26

It's microchipped, so that's someone who's being very responsible.

0:28:260:28:30

I've asked the animal welfare officer to mention to the owner

0:28:300:28:33

that when we're on a public highway,

0:28:330:28:35

regardless if it's microchipped,

0:28:350:28:38

it still needs a tag bearing the owner's name and address.

0:28:380:28:41

Not everybody has a scanner to read a microchip.

0:28:410:28:44

But if it has a tag on it, well, then somebody could perhaps return the dog very quickly to the owner.

0:28:440:28:49

-She's got to wear the little tag.

-Yeah, attached to her collar, whenever she's in a public place.

0:28:490:28:54

-And there is quite a fine.

-Oh, really? OK.

0:28:540:28:57

So get that done as soon as possible.

0:28:570:28:59

Julie is told she has to get Crystal to a vet and she must get her a proper name tag.

0:28:590:29:05

The team will visit her home in a few weeks to check she's followed their advice.

0:29:050:29:10

Later, has an innocent dash to the shops landed this owner in trouble?

0:29:130:29:18

Why is he in the street without a muzzle on?

0:29:180:29:21

I'm sorry. That's all I can say.

0:29:210:29:24

-I'm going to have to report you for the offence.

-OK.

0:29:240:29:27

Earlier, we saw Secret World's volunteers hand-rearing orphaned wild animals.

0:29:300:29:36

Months of feeding, weaning and training lead to one important day - the release.

0:29:360:29:42

But for those who spent weeks nursing them back to health, it's often hard to say goodbye.

0:29:420:29:49

Today is an emotional day for Marie Denston.

0:29:560:29:59

It's been six months since she adopted Flint the orphaned fox cub,

0:29:590:30:03

hand-rearing the tiny baby, who would have perished if left alone.

0:30:030:30:07

Well, this is Flint now...

0:30:070:30:09

..a strapping adolescent,

0:30:130:30:15

and the leader of a pack of five other orphaned cubs.

0:30:150:30:19

The cubs have been living in this secluded pen for four months to develop their wild ways.

0:30:210:30:27

He's looking for somewhere to bury it, look, to hide it from the others.

0:30:270:30:30

Once he was weaned, he was mixed with other foxes of his own age,

0:30:320:30:37

and they were kept in our rehabilitation block

0:30:370:30:41

for five, six weeks, before being moved out into this outside pen.

0:30:410:30:45

Then it's hands-off and as little human contact as possible with them prior to their release.

0:30:450:30:51

They're coming to the stage where foxes would normally disperse,

0:30:510:30:55

the family group would disperse,

0:30:550:30:57

so obviously, it's time to release them now.

0:30:570:31:01

But before she can release him, she's got to catch him.

0:31:030:31:06

So to make it as easy as possible,

0:31:060:31:08

Marie sets about removing his hiding places.

0:31:080:31:12

Get sweating!

0:31:130:31:15

It's so much easier for actually catching Flint,

0:31:170:31:21

because, obviously, if there's great big piles of nettles, he can hide,

0:31:210:31:24

and we're just chasing him from one pile of nettles to the other!

0:31:240:31:28

So it does make it a lot easier and less stressful for him, as well, obviously.

0:31:280:31:32

-But cunning Flint's got ideas of his own.

-There he is.

0:31:320:31:36

When Marie closes in, Flint's pack get well and truly shuffled.

0:31:390:31:43

But she's certainly no novice when it comes to net skills,

0:31:460:31:50

and soon bags one of Flint's pals.

0:31:500:31:53

One. Five to go.

0:31:550:31:58

1-0 for Marie, but Flint's giving her the run-around.

0:31:580:32:01

He can run but, with nowhere left to hide, he's finally caught,

0:32:040:32:08

and shows little appreciation for the motherly love

0:32:080:32:12

Marie once heaped on him.

0:32:120:32:14

Wasn't very tame then. He tried to bite me.

0:32:140:32:16

Now that he's wary of human contact, Flint's clearly frightened.

0:32:210:32:25

We cover the cage over after we've caught them,

0:32:250:32:28

because they're very stressed after running around and being caught.

0:32:280:32:32

So it calms them down, keeps them in the dark and keeps them quiet.

0:32:320:32:37

All six safely boxed, wrapped and packed, they're good to go.

0:32:390:32:43

The foxes are being taken to a 365-acre woodland site.

0:32:450:32:50

They'll be released under the cover of darkness to limit their stress.

0:32:500:32:55

An hour later, Flint and his pack arrive at the release site.

0:32:550:33:00

Their new pad is more than ample stomping ground

0:33:000:33:04

for them to build dens, forage and feed.

0:33:040:33:07

-365 acres?

-Yeah.

0:33:070:33:09

Brilliant. Hear that, Flint?

0:33:090:33:12

Until the foxes get used to their new surroundings,

0:33:120:33:16

volunteers are on hand to give them a head start.

0:33:160:33:19

The food will be put out for a couple of weeks for them,

0:33:190:33:22

and hopefully by then they will have settled in.

0:33:220:33:25

Once we stop feeding them,

0:33:250:33:27

I'm sure he'll find plenty of rabbits and shrews, mice, fruits.

0:33:270:33:34

Yeah, I'm sure he'll be fine.

0:33:360:33:38

Maybe in time, he'll find himself a mate

0:33:380:33:42

and there'll be little Flints running around.

0:33:420:33:47

All right, Flinty, this is your moment.

0:33:470:33:50

As the dominant fox, Flint's going to be the first to break free.

0:33:500:33:54

And after a slow start, he makes a beeline for the food.

0:33:560:34:00

But he's soon distracted by the sights and smells of the wild,

0:34:020:34:07

and heads off to claim his new territory.

0:34:070:34:10

Flint's shortly joined by his companions,

0:34:130:34:16

keen to follow their leader.

0:34:160:34:18

But some are more hesitant and need a bit more encouragement.

0:34:210:34:25

Even a prod can't shift this nervous fellow.

0:34:250:34:28

But after Marie rattles his cage, he makes a dash for freedom.

0:34:290:34:36

It's a bittersweet moment for Marie.

0:34:360:34:38

After months of round-the-clock care, she's sad to see Flint go,

0:34:380:34:43

but she knows he's finally back where he belongs.

0:34:430:34:46

That went really well.

0:34:460:34:47

He's always been the boldest one of the group, actually.

0:34:470:34:50

Yeah, so I think he's a survivor.

0:34:500:34:53

Finally, we're back to northwest London,

0:34:580:35:01

where the BARK project patrols.

0:35:010:35:04

Earlier, the team visited an aggressive Rottweiler called Rocky.

0:35:040:35:08

His owner had to follow some strict rules if he wanted to keep him.

0:35:080:35:13

Sadly, he's decided he can't stick to those rules,

0:35:130:35:16

and has since decided to have his dog put to sleep.

0:35:160:35:19

But they also inspected a Staffie cross called Crystal,

0:35:190:35:23

who had an infected paw and needed to see a vet.

0:35:230:35:26

A welfare officer has since been back to see the dog,

0:35:260:35:30

but they came away worried that the owner was too harsh with her.

0:35:300:35:34

A month later, the patrol are going to visit Crystal, this time at home.

0:35:340:35:39

It's early evening on the streets of northwest London,

0:35:460:35:49

and the BARK squad are on their monthly patrol.

0:35:490:35:52

Which was it? This one?

0:35:520:35:54

The first job of the day is to catch up with Crystal and her owner Julie.

0:35:540:35:58

-Hello, love. It's the RSPCA.

-Hi.

0:36:000:36:02

-I've just come back to do a check on the dog.

-OK, yeah.

-All right?

0:36:020:36:05

Chief inspector Jan Eachus is keen to see if Crystal's paws are healing.

0:36:050:36:09

-She's been on her antibiotics.

-Hello!

0:36:090:36:11

Let me see your paws. Let me see. Let me see.

0:36:140:36:17

Are you putting the treatment on every day?

0:36:170:36:20

Yes. She's having antibiotics twice a day.

0:36:200:36:22

-They've got a lot better, don't you think?

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

0:36:220:36:25

Crystal's paws do seem to be much better, but then Jan notices a problem.

0:36:250:36:30

A month ago, he asked Julie to get Crystal a name tag.

0:36:300:36:33

It seems she hasn't done it.

0:36:330:36:36

Where's her tag for when she goes out on the street? Where's her ID tag?

0:36:360:36:41

Oh, I haven't got one.

0:36:410:36:43

If something happens, if she hears a bang and crashes through the gate,

0:36:430:36:47

if she's got a tag on her, somebody will probably find her,

0:36:470:36:50

-because she is a good-natured dog.

-Yeah, she is.

0:36:500:36:53

That's the reason for it.

0:36:530:36:54

And there's another concern.

0:36:540:36:56

Jan wants to investigate the allegation that Julie's been too harsh when disciplining her dog.

0:36:560:37:02

-When my colleague was here...

-Yeah.

0:37:020:37:04

..she was outside.

0:37:040:37:07

I guess they must have knocked on the door.

0:37:070:37:09

-The dog must have went out first.

-OK.

-Wagging her tail, like she does now.

0:37:090:37:13

Yeah, she's very friendly.

0:37:130:37:15

But then you came out and you were screaming at the dog.

0:37:150:37:18

-To get in.

-When she came in, she was virtually crawling on her belly.

0:37:180:37:22

Crawling on her belly? That's a load of lies. That's a load of lies.

0:37:220:37:27

She wasn't virtually crawling on her belly.

0:37:270:37:29

-No, I shouted at her to come in, and obviously she came in.

-OK.

0:37:290:37:33

What I don't want to hear is the dog being over-corrected, OK?

0:37:330:37:37

-OK.

-Because otherwise, if she is over-corrected,

0:37:370:37:40

-then you won't have the dog no more. It can be that serious.

-Mm-hm.

0:37:400:37:43

This is just a friendly warning to you. You need to control your dog,

0:37:430:37:47

I accept that, but there are ways of controlling her.

0:37:470:37:50

-If you call her, she'll probably come to you.

-Yeah.

0:37:500:37:52

And if you give her loads of praise when she comes to you,

0:37:520:37:55

she'll think - better to come to you than to run out in the street.

0:37:550:37:59

So there'll be another inspector stop around in a couple of weeks,

0:37:590:38:02

-just to see how she's getting on.

-OK, that's fine.

0:38:020:38:05

-Please listen to what I say about over-correcting.

-OK.

0:38:050:38:09

-OK, thank you very much.

-Thank you. Bye.

0:38:090:38:11

The team are satisfied that Julie has taken on their advice,

0:38:110:38:14

and leave to continue their patrol.

0:38:140:38:16

On the next street, outside a parade of shops,

0:38:190:38:22

they have another case to deal with.

0:38:220:38:25

Come over here.

0:38:250:38:27

This is not good enough.

0:38:270:38:28

This time, it concerns a dog that's known to them, called Seamus.

0:38:280:38:32

Although pit bulls are banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act, some, like Seamus, can be granted exemption.

0:38:320:38:39

But there are conditions that have to be met.

0:38:390:38:41

One is that they must be muzzled when being walked.

0:38:410:38:44

All right, you are aware of the conditions of the exemptive clause?

0:38:440:38:49

You know that he's not allowed in a public place without a muzzle.

0:38:490:38:53

-I apologise.

-You're in breach of the conditions, and I can seize him and take him away.

0:38:530:38:57

We've gone to all the trouble of adding Seamus to the exemptive register.

0:38:570:39:02

He could have been put to sleep.

0:39:020:39:05

I understand that.

0:39:050:39:06

And yet again, I find myself standing in the street trying to explain

0:39:060:39:10

things to you that you've told me before you fully understand.

0:39:100:39:14

-I do fully understand.

-Then why is he in the street without a muzzle on?

0:39:140:39:18

I'm sorry. That's all I can say.

0:39:180:39:21

-I'm going to have to report you for the offence.

-OK.

0:39:210:39:24

I was bringing her out, and I just brought him along for the walk, just to the shop...for two minutes.

0:39:240:39:30

-So you just came out to get...

-..a sweet for the little one.

0:39:300:39:34

..a sweet.

0:39:340:39:37

This seemingly innocent late-night dash to buy sweets for his daughter

0:39:370:39:41

could have serious consequences for both Husain and Seamus.

0:39:410:39:45

I've had him as a pet since he was a baby, so I didn't even know he was a banned dog. So...

0:39:470:39:52

In his defence, this is the first time I've seen Seamus without a muzzle on.

0:39:520:39:57

However, he's now committed an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act,

0:39:570:40:02

and he now risks Seamus being seized and destroyed,

0:40:020:40:07

from what I can understand, simply, at this stage because he said

0:40:070:40:11

he only popped across the road to get something with his daughter.

0:40:110:40:15

You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence

0:40:150:40:17

if you fail to mention now something which you later rely on in court.

0:40:170:40:20

Anything you do say may be given in evidence. You're not under arrest.

0:40:200:40:23

I'm going to make some notes and ask you some questions.

0:40:230:40:26

The BARK team don't want to put dogs down, they want to educate owners so they can keep their pets.

0:40:260:40:32

So, finding those who ignore the rules is extremely frustrating.

0:40:320:40:36

Why is he in the street without a muzzle on?

0:40:360:40:39

-Dad?

-There's no reason.

0:40:390:40:41

Just my stupidity.

0:40:410:40:44

There's no reason, it's just your stupidity? Is that what you want me to write, yeah?

0:40:440:40:49

-That's your answer?

-Yeah.

0:40:490:40:52

By failing to follow a few simple rules, Husain could now lose his family pet.

0:40:520:40:58

It's the type of situation the officers are seeing day in and day out.

0:40:580:41:02

All the owners are asked to do is put her on a lead,

0:41:020:41:05

put her on a collar and wear a muzzle when it's out in the public.

0:41:050:41:10

And it really is very, very disappointing.

0:41:100:41:12

This is now the fourth dog in less than two weeks.

0:41:120:41:15

The owners are just not taking it seriously,

0:41:150:41:17

and this is quite a serious matter.

0:41:170:41:20

I'm not going to seize Seamus on this occasion.

0:41:210:41:24

However, this is going before the court, and I strongly suggest and say to you now

0:41:270:41:33

-that we don't have this scenario again.

-No, no.

0:41:330:41:38

If he's going to come out, it has to be after you've been to the pet shop in the morning...

0:41:380:41:42

-With the muzzle on.

-..or wherever you're going to get the muzzle from, cos he needs to have it on.

0:41:420:41:47

I know. I am sorry, and I promise that it won't happen again.

0:41:470:41:51

If Husain follows the advice, the courts may rule he can keep his pet.

0:41:510:41:56

For the BARK team, it's back on patrol.

0:41:590:42:02

Their work with dangerous dogs on the streets of London goes on.

0:42:020:42:06

If you think you know of a case of wildlife crime or a creature that needs immediate protection,

0:42:110:42:18

remember, there are dedicated professionals out there who will answer your call around the clock.

0:42:180:42:24

They are the people we meet on Animal 24:7.

0:42:240:42:28

-Next time...

-Oh, she's got a really nasty ear there.

0:42:310:42:35

-..two Alsatians on the edge of being taken away...

-If you don't,

0:42:350:42:39

you're going to lose your dogs and you're going to end up in court.

0:42:390:42:42

..an injured swan with a protective mate...

0:42:420:42:45

You're a star. Just watch him! Watch him, watch him, watch him.

0:42:450:42:48

Easy, fella, easy.

0:42:480:42:51

..and Bambi hits the bottle.

0:42:510:42:53

Cor! Down in one, Les! I don't know who he learned that from! He drinks it just like that!

0:42:530:42:59

Is it REAL ale, though? That's the problem.

0:42:590:43:01

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:230:43:26

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:260:43:29

Series following people who protect and work closely with wildlife and domestic animals.

On the road with BARK - the dangerous dogs squad, presenter Tom Heap goes behind the scenes with the RSPCA's mobile vet clinic and the people who play surrogate mums to some tiny orphans.