Episode 1 Animal 24:7


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Episode 1

RSPCA Inspector Keith Hogben goes to the aid of two dogs and quickly realises their owner needs help too. A team enters a bidding war to try and save Dartmoor Ponies.


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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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Today on Animal 24/7, at the end of their tether...

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two dogs left to suffer in the sun.

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There isn't any shelter at all for them.

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Not only shelter from the rain and that, but shelter from the heat as well.

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A bidding war to save these ponies from an uncertain future.

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If you allow emotion to play too much of a role, I'd end up taking all

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of these back with us,

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and we couldn't look after them all properly.

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And Plummet the gannet lives up to its name.

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You imagine lobbing him off a cliff and he goes, "Ahh", down like that.

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That was possibly the most inelegant flight I've ever seen!

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The sight of a tethered dog sparks a strong reaction but, in the right circumstances,

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it can be a good way of, say, keeping a guard dog or preventing a pet from running away.

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But care needs to be taken to ensure the animal doesn't come to any harm,

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especially if there's no shelter from the sun.

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It's a sweltering day in Wales and RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben

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has received some news that's left him hot under the collar.

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We've had a call from someone this afternoon regarding two dogs that are

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kept in a shed with no water, and one was apparently on a tether as well.

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Obviously it's quite hot today so the lack of water is quite a concern.

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But it seems there's no-one home, so Keith begins looking for clues that might support the complaint.

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There's signs of dogs here. There's a...

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could be a water bowl here, and there's an old lead on what

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could be described as a tether, so there is obviously dogs around.

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Inside, there are more worrying signs.

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I've just had a quick look through the window in case there were dogs

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inside, and the house looks in quite an unkempt state and there's plenty of junk all over the place, so...

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you know, if a dog is living in these conditions, I'm going

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to look to be obviously giving advice and hoping these people follow it.

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It doesn't look a particularly clean

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environment for any animal, let alone humans to be in, so although we've got our concerns for the animals'

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welfare, I'd also have concerns for the actual owners' welfare and anyone else living at the property.

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BARKING

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Keith still can't see any dogs at the front, but then he hears barking coming from round the back.

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In the garden, he spots what he's been looking for.

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It looks like, to me...

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Obviously you can hear a couple of dogs, you can see a couple of dogs.

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They haven't rushed to the gate so they may well be on a tether.

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I want to check they've got water and some shelter.

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Obviously there's no-one in, so...

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Normally we wouldn't go into somebody's property, but I've got a concern for their welfare

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so I'm going to check their needs are provided for.

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This environment is completely unsuitable for these two dogs.

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Keith is now extremely concerned.

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The main problem I've got at the moment is, where both dogs are tethered...

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Ssh! Hey, shush, shush, shush, shush.

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..where both dogs are tethered round this washing line,

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they can easily get tangled around it, and that could obviously damage their health.

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They could end up strangling themselves, getting tied together.

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It's not illegal to tether a dog outside...

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Hello, sweetheart.

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..but the way these two are tied up is simply not acceptable.

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Tethering of dogs is fine, you know, as long as it's done correctly

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and they've got free-running swivel, but this...

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The two leads are just getting tangled up between themselves and, all right, they've probably got

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about six foot of play, but they've only got to go round this a few times or start tangling themselves

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when they're playing, and this could get really tight on them, so that's a concern.

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And it's not just the chain that Keith is worried about.

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There isn't any shelter at all for them...

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not only shelter from the rain and that, but shelter from the heat as well.

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The dogs are clearly hot and Keith is keen to check them over.

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Hello, darling. Hello.

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I'm just running my hands over the body of the dogs,

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just to check their condition, actually.

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Both these dogs' condition is OK. They're in reasonable nick.

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The little Westie is a little bit matted but nothing that a good grooming wouldn't sort out.

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But a closer look reveals the other dog is in need of help.

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Got quite a large bald area.

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That could be skin condition, fleas.

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That needs addressing as well.

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And then Keith finds even more problems dangerously close to where the dogs are tethered.

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This is splintered glass.

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You know, you imagine treading on that, it's just going to

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go straight through your foot, like this could go straight through their pads on their paws so we'll

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perhaps take that away or move it.

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We've also got these bits of wood with old rusty nails sticking through them.

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You shouldn't keep an animal in these conditions.

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It wouldn't take a couple of hours to tidy up this whole garden and as long as the place is secure,

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the dogs have the run of the garden.

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If they've got to stay out, you could open up the shed for a shelter.

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They've got the basics, food and water, but the tethering needs

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addressing and all these hazards need addressing as well.

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You know, I'd want to... I'll be back. I'm going to leave a notice.

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I'm going to try and ring the owner cos there's a contact number

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on one of the dogs, and just express my concerns and, by the end of the week, I'd like to see some changes.

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Keith will be back,

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but he's not prepared to leave the dogs surrounded by so many hazards.

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He removes as much of the glass and rusty nails as he can.

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The rest will be up to the owner to do.

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I'm just going to leave a welfare form through his door

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with a guidance leaflet, saying basically what I feel is wrong with the way he's keeping his animals.

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We wouldn't want to live like that, so why should your animals?

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There's no duty of care to these animals.

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They're just tethered out there, get on with it.

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There may be underlying reasons why they're out there,

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but until I actually speak to the owner, we can't really judge too much.

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But, saying that, I want their conditions changed.

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But as Keith is leaving, he has a stroke of luck.

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He spots someone approaching the house.

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Afternoon. Hiya. Is this your property, sir?

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-Yeah.

-Ah, hiya.

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I've had a call concerning your dogs, mate.

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Still to come...

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It's not just the dogs that need Keith's help.

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You need to get some fresh air in here.

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Living in this is not good for your health and it's not good for the dogs' health.

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And the rabbits that are raring to go.

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-Oof, well held!

-That's looking fine.

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Looking very well.

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The sight of ponies roaming wild on the rugged hills of Dartmoor

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conjures up a romantic image of freedom,

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but what most people don't realise is that Dartmoor ponies are actually owned by local farmers.

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Just like cows, sheep or pigs, they're a source of income and can be sold at auction.

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A few years back, these auctions were extremely profitable and it was a good place to buy riding ponies,

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but now many horses fetch just a few pounds, meaning their future is far from certain.

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Tavistock Auction Market in Devon...

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..and this is the last sale of the year for Dartmoor ponies.

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Keep moving them round! Keep moving!

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Keep moving, don't stand around.

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Many of these animals have spent their whole lives living wild

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and they're terrified, but today their future will be decided.

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Ten guineas. Go on, look what you get for your money! Ten guineas.

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Roland Phillips and Ellen Willis from the Devon Horse And Pony Sanctuary are on a mission...

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-They're nice, aren't they?

-Very tiny.

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..and have real concerns for the animals.

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At the end of each sale, there's always a few left over.

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They're perhaps not as attractive, or maybe...

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they're maybe not quite as good as the ones that have made good money, and they face a very bleak future.

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At one time, demand for these ponies was high but, over recent years,

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the market has collapsed, meaning many are sold for a pittance.

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If you take a little chap like this one, or this one here,

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if they just go for a few pounds, they have no real intrinsic value.

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They may be shot, they may even end up being fed -

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I know it sounds absolutely... very dramatic -

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they may even end up being fed to lions in a zoo somewhere.

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It's impossible for Roland to save all the ponies.

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These are just sort of little chaps. They're not going to make much money.

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But he's recently been given a donation which should allow him

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to buy some and then give them the care they need.

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I don't think there's anything there, really, that...

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They look very good, don't they?

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Roland and Ellen begin searching the pens to look for ponies that are need of help.

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-A colt, is it?

-That's a filly.

-That's a filly.

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They eventually spot two underweight foals who've had a tragic start to their lives.

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We've had a good look round this morning, and we like the look of two of the

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foals in here. Apparently the mother has

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died through ragwort poisoning, which is a horrible thing that equines get.

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It's a weed that they pick up and eat.

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And we feel that they'd be good to take back to the sanctuary, bring them on.

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With some TLC, we should be able to really make something of them...

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and, at some later stage, I think they'll make somebody a very good pet, if not a little riding pony.

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Without their mother's milk, these two orphans have already started to deteriorate.

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Roland wants to take them away to build their strength back up.

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Inside the auction ring, the serious work amongst the dealers is under way.

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-Colt, 20 guineas...

-20 guineas. That's terrible, isn't it?

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The ponies are going for as little as £21.

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The harsh economic climate is clearly taking effect.

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Ten guineas...

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After a brisk period of trading, the first of Roland's favourites is herded into the ring.

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He seems lost without his brother.

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It's time for Roland to try and buy him.

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AUCTIONEER CALLS THE BIDS

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That foal went for 40 guineas, but it's actually a very pretty foal... Sorry, I'll have to...

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Before Roland can draw breath, the second foal is sent into the ring.

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Roland is determined to try and keep them together.

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Maiden bid, 20 guineas...

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Selling now, all done now?

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Selling at 20 guineas.

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Yeah, we got that for 20 guineas.

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For a nice little foal, you know,

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it's not even £25, you know.

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It's crazy money, really.

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With prices so low, Roland and Ellen decide they have enough money to try and save one more pony.

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They look quite good, don't they?

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And there are dozens that look like they need help.

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These ones are probably more the thing we're looking for.

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If you allow emotion to play too much of a role, I'd end up taking all of these back with us, and we couldn't

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look after them all properly,

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so I have to be fairly hard-hearted and just choose

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the ones that I know that we can help.

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Then this tiny chestnut foal catches their eye.

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So what have we got here?

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He's been separated from his mother and seems sad and lonely, but that's not all.

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He appears to have problems with his hooves.

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He's got a bit of a twisted leg.

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Yeah, I can see that. It's swollen up.

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-Yeah.

-That right leg has a little twist.

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Yeah, I can see that. Yeah.

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The way this foal is suckling from the other mares in the pen

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suggests he's desperately missing his own mum.

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Roland knows he just has to buy him.

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-I feel bad letting those go through the market, don't you?

-Yeah, I do.

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Later: The orphans are safe, but face a long road to recovery.

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Because their mother died while they were still very young and

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they hadn't received enough nutrient in the mother's milk...

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And will Keith make a difference?

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If you work with me, I will help you out, you know.

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-Yes, yes.

-If you don't work with me, I will take things further.

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We want the best environment for the dogs.

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-Yes, I do as well.

-As well as yourself, all right?

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When you run the busiest wildlife hospital in the world, there's a steady stream of

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casualties coming in to be treated, but how do you know when they're fit enough to be released again?

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Because, with animals, they can't tell you they're feeling a lot better.

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St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire treats more than 10,000 animals every year.

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That one's all right, isn't it?

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The best part of their job is when they can release these animals back into the wild.

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But it can be a tense moment because the timing has to be just right.

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One happy badger!

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Today, I'm joining Les to put a number of patients through

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-their paces to decide which ones are fit for release.

-Mind his back legs.

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-Hold his back legs.

-Like that?

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Yeah.

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First up are these rabbits who've been cured of myxomatosis,

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a disease which almost wiped out the rabbit population in the 1950s.

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I always thought myxomatosis was a death sentence, in effect.

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Well, it's not drastically.

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It's a virus so they can...

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We can all fight viruses with our own immune system.

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All the bad eyes and all that sort of stuff is a bacteria,

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so if we can kill the bacteria then they stand a good chance of getting over the virus.

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There are four rabbits up for release today,

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but myxomatosis is easily spread so the decision can't be taken lightly.

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Yeah, in there he goes.

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First they need to be examined by vet Jenny Hewlett

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to make sure they're no longer carrying the disease.

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Heart's going very fast. I don't like the look of that eye.

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He's got a milky change to the cornea...

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Inflammation around the eyes is one of the signs.

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Unfortunately, this rabbit still isn't well enough to be given the green light.

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I would probably think that he may need further treatment

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and see if that can resolve prior to releasing him.

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Myxy rabbits are usually quite docile

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so it seems clear the other three have recovered from the disease.

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Oof, well held!

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That's looking fine. Looking very well.

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-That's good, so three out of four.

-Yeah.

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It's wonderful to see these rabbits recovered and doing well.

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I think a lot of rabbits are still dying from myxomatosis, but it's wonderful that you're getting a small

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-number of rabbits that are coming through the disease.

-Thanks a lot.

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So that's three healthy rabbits boxed up and ready say goodbye to the sanctuary.

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But sometimes working out if an animal is ready for release doesn't need a vet.

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It can be more trial and error.

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So what are we catching in here?

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We've got two gannets, which is very unusual being in the

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middle of Buckinghamshire, but we want to give them a flying test.

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The one thing I know about gannets is that they come

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into the water at incredible speed with that really powerful beak.

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Now, is there a danger that that's going to be into me or you?

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To you! It's very important, when we net them, you know, you net one,

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don't try and pick it up, don't try and grab it.

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Let Sharon and I do it cos we...

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Well, let Sharon do it, actually, then if anybody gets damaged, Sharon can get damaged.

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These two have earned the not very flattering names of Dunnit and Plummet.

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After arriving at the hospital covered in oil,

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they've been cleaned up and made themselves very much at home.

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-Well done.

-Les is now worried they don't actually want to leave at all.

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First up for a test flight is Dunnit.

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On three. Ready? Here we go.

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One, two, three!

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Not a great flyer. He flapped his wings, which is a start and that'll build up the chest muscles, so...

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He made a bit of an effort but it wasn't the most graceful or successful of flights, was it?

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'So, Dunnit didn't do it.

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'Now it's my turn with Plummet...'

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One, two, three.

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Oh, no!

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'..who lives up to his name!'

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I mean, Tom, they're not proper gannets, I don't think!

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You imagine lobbing him off a cliff and he goes "Ahh", you know, down like that.

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It was possibly the most inelegant flight I've ever seen!

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Do you have a fair throughput of these things? Do you have any experience of how they get on?

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No. We don't get many gannets up here, you know, so...

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But you've had some successful releases?

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Oh, yeah. When you do release them, when they do go, it's...

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oh, it's absolutely amazing.

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So, for now at least, Dunnit and Plummet can enjoy a few more weeks of Les's hospitality.

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Next, we've donned the waterproofs for the third part of our release mission.

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So what's the plan?

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OK, we've got three cygnets and two geese to catch.

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I'm going to give you a net.

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-Man with net...

-Man with net, go in there...

-..always looks comic.

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Go in that end, see if you can catch a cygnet.

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There's no question over whether these birds are ready for release.

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The only problem is catching them.

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-Like that?

-That's one, yes. Bring him in.

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The first cygnet isn't a problem, but I'm struggling to get the goose.

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Oi, he gave me the slip, that one!

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I'm not going to give up.

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This time, I'm going to get that goose over there.

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Ha-ha! Got you this time!

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And now I'm getting this bird-catching down to a fine art.

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-Gotcha!

-Another one!

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I don't believe that! Can you do that again?

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That was jammy!

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I've got you.

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All five birds are bagged and put in the car.

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The rabbits go in there too. They're all heading for the same place.

0:21:020:21:07

But there's still room for one more.

0:21:070:21:10

Is that the lot?

0:21:100:21:12

No, we've got one more passenger.

0:21:120:21:14

-Oh, yeah?

-I think he can go in the glove compartment, though.

-I'm intrigued now.

0:21:140:21:18

'The final patient is a grass snake.' She's not going to bite me?

0:21:200:21:25

No, she won't bite you but she'll squirt smelly stuff all over you, and you've got some already, look.

0:21:250:21:30

The grass snake is Britain's longest reptile.

0:21:300:21:34

Although it's not venomous, I can't say they're one of my favourite creatures.

0:21:340:21:39

It's the most common snake in Britain, it's the most beautiful.

0:21:390:21:43

-How fantastic are they?

-Yeah.

0:21:430:21:45

This snake was caught in netting on a garden pond.

0:21:450:21:49

And what treatment has she had?

0:21:490:21:51

Well, she's just been cleaned up, a bit of antiseptic on her wounds.

0:21:520:21:57

She was given some fluids. We can't get into her veins, so down her mouth,

0:21:570:22:01

so it's just a question of getting her over the shock and releasing her straightaway.

0:22:010:22:05

Absolutely beautiful.

0:22:050:22:06

Forget Noah's Ark,

0:22:100:22:11

Les's 4x4, complete with three rabbits, three cygnets,

0:22:110:22:15

two geese and one grass snake, takes them to their new home.

0:22:150:22:19

It's some nearby private land, complete with large lake,

0:22:190:22:25

which is perfect for all these animals' needs.

0:22:250:22:27

-Hello, Nick.

-Hello, Les.

0:22:270:22:29

The landowner, Nick Moore, often receives animals from Les.

0:22:290:22:33

Today, his son Seb is helping out with this eclectic delivery.

0:22:330:22:37

Yeah, Nick, this is all right for them, isn't it?

0:22:400:22:43

The birds waste no time getting into water.

0:22:430:22:47

Hey, one away, two away!

0:22:470:22:50

Some of them are going to stay here long-term, others not. Is that right?

0:22:500:22:54

Yeah, the white goose will stay here and move in with Nick's family of white geese.

0:22:540:22:59

The swans will leave, fly off in the winter. Or they might stay forever.

0:22:590:23:02

And the greylag, he'll grow up and he'll come and go as he pleases,

0:23:020:23:06

but he might stay with these geese, you know.

0:23:060:23:09

They're pretty family orientated.

0:23:090:23:11

Next, the grass snake is coaxed out...

0:23:130:23:17

You find your own way out there, buddy. Oh, there she goes, look.

0:23:170:23:20

..and slithers off out of sight.

0:23:200:23:24

Look at that! Doesn't she look great?

0:23:240:23:27

Wow!

0:23:270:23:29

Finally, it's the rabbits.

0:23:310:23:34

The way they hit the ground running leaves Les happy that they are fit for freedom.

0:23:340:23:40

Look at him...bobbidy bob!

0:23:400:23:42

Brilliant!

0:23:420:23:43

I guess with some animals, perhaps like the swans, it's a bit easier to know when to release them cos

0:23:460:23:51

they just look well, but these ones have had a critical disease. It's quite a fine balance.

0:23:510:23:55

People always say to me, "Isn't it great releasing things?"

0:23:550:23:59

No, it's a nightmare because you release something and you think, "How's it going to go?

0:23:590:24:03

"Is it going to survive?" If you release a bird, is it going to fly?

0:24:030:24:06

Is it going to plummet?

0:24:060:24:08

Every time you release something you worry if it's going to go cos you haven't tried it out,

0:24:080:24:13

but those rabbits were spot on.

0:24:130:24:15

All in all, it's been a pretty successful day, and hopefully

0:24:150:24:18

I'll be back soon to help Plummet and Dunnit be on their way too.

0:24:180:24:23

Coming up, taming the Dartmoor ponies' wild ways.

0:24:300:24:35

They were so underdeveloped that they've taken longer to mature

0:24:350:24:40

to their age, and they have been a little bit harder to work with.

0:24:400:24:44

Now we're back to North Wales with RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben.

0:24:480:24:53

Earlier we saw Keith visiting two dogs kept on a dangerous tether in a back yard.

0:24:530:24:59

It was overgrown and there was broken glass on the ground.

0:24:590:25:03

Keith wanted to explain to the owner that the way he kept his dogs had to change, and he's just come home.

0:25:030:25:10

Owner Albert has agreed to speak to Keith about the way he's keeping his pets.

0:25:180:25:23

You've been out for the afternoon, have you, sir?

0:25:230:25:26

But once inside, there's another problem that Keith can't ignore.

0:25:260:25:30

The dogs come in, do they, sir?

0:25:340:25:35

See, look, is this dog excrement here, is it?

0:25:370:25:40

Dog pooh?

0:25:400:25:42

Yeah, you need a bit of a hand yourself, don't you, mate?

0:25:440:25:47

The conditions in this house are appalling.

0:25:500:25:53

You need to get some fresh air in here.

0:25:530:25:56

Living in this is not good for your health and it's not good for the dogs' health.

0:25:560:26:00

Albert explains his brother has just died and he's spending time between two houses.

0:26:000:26:07

-It seems he also has health problems himself.

-Are you all right?

0:26:070:26:12

-Do you want to sit down?

-No.

0:26:120:26:14

It's becoming clear to Keith that it's not just the dogs that need help.

0:26:140:26:19

-Do you want me to get you some water or something?

-No.

-Are you sure?

0:26:190:26:23

Although Keith is here for the animals, he can't ignore the way Albert is living.

0:26:230:26:28

He'll now ensure the local council know all about this.

0:26:280:26:33

I feel you need help as well as the dogs.

0:26:330:26:36

Social Services might be able to help.

0:26:360:26:38

For now, though, Keith has to speak to Albert about his pets, Misty and Wilma.

0:26:380:26:43

I'll be totally honest with you.

0:26:430:26:46

The way you're keeping the dogs is far from ideal, OK?

0:26:460:26:50

I've got a few issues.

0:26:500:26:52

The main issue is, in this hot weather, they need shelter

0:26:520:26:56

to get away from not only the rain but the sun as well. So whether that's a bit of plywood up against

0:26:560:27:02

the side of the house at an angle so they can get in out the way...

0:27:020:27:05

Now, in the garden, I picked up quite a lot of glass...

0:27:050:27:08

shards of glass, splintered glass outside the back door.

0:27:080:27:11

I've cleared that up for you,

0:27:110:27:13

but that is highly dangerous, obviously,

0:27:130:27:15

to any animal - and yourself.

0:27:150:27:17

You could fall and cut yourself on the glass.

0:27:170:27:19

Keith also wants to make sure Albert knows tying his dogs to a washing post has to change.

0:27:190:27:27

Tethering of dogs is OK as long as it's done correctly.

0:27:270:27:30

Because they're tethered round the clothes-line, they can get... Already there's a knot forming.

0:27:300:27:35

They can get tangled, there's a risk of strangulation, they could get tied up together.

0:27:350:27:40

Although Keith could take further action today, he decides to give Albert a chance to change.

0:27:420:27:47

He spells out what he'd like to see done.

0:27:470:27:50

What needs to happen is, the garden needs to be cleared, doesn't it?

0:27:510:27:55

-Yeah.

-The bottom shed would be ideal for

0:27:550:27:58

shelter, like you say, or even have the door open or cut a little hole in the bottom of it.

0:27:580:28:02

Yeah, that would be fine.

0:28:050:28:06

And then, as long as the garden's secure so the dogs can't get out,

0:28:060:28:10

there's no need for them to be on the tether, is there?

0:28:100:28:13

But Keith's advice does come with a warning.

0:28:130:28:15

If you work with me, I will help you out.

0:28:150:28:19

If you don't work with me, I will take things further,

0:28:190:28:22

cos at the end of the day,

0:28:220:28:23

we want the best environment for the dogs as well as yourself, all right?

0:28:230:28:27

It's obvious the pets mean a lot to him...

0:28:270:28:30

But Keith thinks he may be able to cope better without them.

0:28:330:28:36

If you feel that the dogs are too much for you...

0:28:360:28:39

I appreciate you've got a lot going on with your brother passing away, you know.

0:28:390:28:43

Your house needs a bit of a tidy, doesn't it?

0:28:430:28:46

If the dogs you want re-homing, I can help you out there as well.

0:28:460:28:49

All right, sir? You take care now.

0:28:510:28:53

Keith leaves Albert to reflect on his visit, and he's hoping it will benefit more than just the dogs.

0:28:530:29:00

Sometimes people need our help, not only for their animals

0:29:000:29:04

but for them as well, and I've got a duty to him as well.

0:29:040:29:07

And he knows things are getting on top of him and that's half the battle.

0:29:070:29:11

He knows that and I think he wants to do something right.

0:29:110:29:14

We come across this situation far too often, and the gentleman's got no family,

0:29:140:29:19

doesn't seem to have a big circle of friends around him, so he needs help, he does, the dogs need our help.

0:29:190:29:26

It just makes me feel sad.

0:29:260:29:28

But with no-one around to support him, can Albert

0:29:280:29:31

really make any difference by the time Keith returns?

0:29:310:29:34

Still to come...

0:29:430:29:44

If there's no improvement at all,

0:29:440:29:46

perhaps we'll have to go down the line of issuing a warning notice, which is a bit more serious,

0:29:460:29:50

but I'm hoping that that won't be the case, and I want to help this gentleman out.

0:29:500:29:56

He seems to be up against it at the moment.

0:29:560:29:58

At a recent sale of Dartmoor ponies, some of the animals were going for

0:30:010:30:05

as little as £10, prompting fears that they could end up as pet food.

0:30:050:30:09

Now, charity workers Roland Phillips and Ellen Willis

0:30:090:30:13

from the Devon Horse And Pony Sanctuary have stepped in,

0:30:130:30:16

to make sure at least some of them will get a much better life.

0:30:160:30:20

At the auction of Dartmoor ponies, Roland Phillips and Ellen Willis have managed to buy these two foals.

0:30:280:30:35

Now they're bidding for one more,

0:30:370:30:39

a sad-looking youngster who's lame and seems too small to be away from his mum.

0:30:390:30:45

-25, 27? 27...

-102.

0:30:450:30:51

The hammer signals this pony's future is now safe.

0:30:510:30:55

The day's business draws to a close and now Roland needs to settle up.

0:30:570:31:02

It's amazing that you can buy three animals for just over £100, isn't it?

0:31:020:31:07

The bills are paid. It's now time to take the ponies away.

0:31:080:31:12

-Come on.

-They've spent their lives living wild on the moor and are terrified.

0:31:150:31:21

That's it. That's it, thank you, yeah.

0:31:240:31:27

Thank you.

0:31:270:31:29

Roland and his team now have the long job of helping these ponies get used to humans.

0:31:290:31:34

There we go. Get on! That's it.

0:31:360:31:39

They're taken to the Devon Horse And Pony Sanctuary's HQ.

0:31:440:31:48

It's here where their new lives will begin.

0:31:480:31:51

If you take that one, Mandy...

0:31:520:31:54

There we go. Very quietly.

0:31:580:32:00

If I go into them on the right side and just...

0:32:000:32:03

Gently.

0:32:030:32:05

Bemused at their new surroundings, the chestnut pony leads the two orphans slowly into their stable.

0:32:050:32:11

This is all very new.

0:32:110:32:14

Good boy, good boy.

0:32:140:32:16

After the stress of being rounded up, herded into pens and sold,

0:32:160:32:20

it's important the ponies are now given time to feel safe.

0:32:200:32:24

That went well.

0:32:240:32:26

But before anyone can relax, Roland wants to check the ponies over.

0:32:260:32:30

He believes the chestnut's lameness should be cured by a trip to the

0:32:300:32:34

blacksmith, but it's the two orphans who are in the most need of help.

0:32:340:32:38

Yeah, my biggest concern with these two guys, particularly, is the amount of weight loss

0:32:380:32:44

cos their mother died while they were still very young, and they hadn't been weaned off the mother.

0:32:440:32:50

They haven't received enough nutrient in the mother's milk, which is why you can see how

0:32:500:32:57

tucked-in at the sides... And you can just see the bones on the hips.

0:32:570:33:02

I think, with a bit of care and some good food, they'll be fine.

0:33:020:33:06

Seven months later, and all three of the ponies are blooming.

0:33:140:33:18

They've also got names... Snowflake, Rudolph and Cracker.

0:33:180:33:21

They've piled on the weight, and Cracker's lameness has been cured.

0:33:240:33:29

But smoothing out their wild ways is taking time.

0:33:290:33:33

They haven't been very easy to come to terms with.

0:33:330:33:36

The little guy, little Cracker, has done more.

0:33:360:33:40

He seems to have bonded with people a lot better.

0:33:400:33:43

The other two, because they were a lot later, they were so underdeveloped

0:33:430:33:48

that they've taken longer to mature to their age, and they have been a little bit harder to work with.

0:33:480:33:55

The priority with the orphans is to get them comfortable around humans.

0:33:550:34:01

Donna Webb is trying to train Snowflake to get used to being led.

0:34:010:34:05

Because he's not used to walking on a lead rope, you pull and it's pressure on their head,

0:34:050:34:10

and as soon as they start walking, it releases the pressure and they get a treat at the end of it.

0:34:100:34:15

It's all part of the learning.

0:34:150:34:17

There's not a lot else you can do to get them to walk on.

0:34:170:34:21

Give him treats at the end of it,

0:34:210:34:23

it will encourage him

0:34:230:34:25

to do it.

0:34:250:34:27

The plan is to transform the orphans into riding ponies for children,

0:34:270:34:32

and at least they seem willing to learn.

0:34:320:34:35

Just to get their trust in people, get used to having things on their back, just very carefully, slowly

0:34:350:34:43

groom them and then it all comes together.

0:34:430:34:46

Obviously they came, they were very wild and it was just getting their trust.

0:34:460:34:51

A lot of feed to do that, lots of treats. They are getting there.

0:34:510:34:56

Very sweet, very cute,

0:34:560:34:58

and we'll get there in the end, won't we?

0:34:580:35:01

Cracker has proved much easier to train.

0:35:010:35:04

Sad and lonely when he was rescued, he's now a key member of the charity team.

0:35:040:35:09

He has been used recently with children with special needs,

0:35:090:35:13

and we've taken him to a lot of local fetes and National Trust

0:35:130:35:17

properties that we've gone to to promote the charity itself, as an ambassador, really.

0:35:170:35:23

Cracker is also a favourite with the sanctuary's young groom.

0:35:230:35:27

Yeah, he's been doing really well since we first got him.

0:35:270:35:31

He's really calm, quiet, good with kids,

0:35:310:35:34

he loves being groomed and he's just really nice.

0:35:340:35:40

A few months ago, these were wild moorland ponies with an uncertain future.

0:35:400:35:46

Now their transformation into family favourites is almost complete.

0:35:460:35:50

In general, they've behaved, they've fattened up,

0:35:500:35:55

they've matured, um...

0:35:550:35:58

They've done everything that we could've wished for them to achieve.

0:35:580:36:03

Their life expectancy here, um...

0:36:030:36:07

far outweighs where they've come from.

0:36:070:36:10

And the team here is determined to continue doing all they can to rescue more characters like these.

0:36:100:36:16

Finally, we're back to Wales where RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben

0:36:220:36:27

is trying to persuade the owner of two dogs to improve their conditions.

0:36:270:36:31

Misty and Wilma were being kept tethered outside

0:36:310:36:35

in an area with no shelter and full of broken glass.

0:36:350:36:39

But Keith is also concerned about the way their owner is living and wants to try and help him too.

0:36:390:36:45

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben is on his way to a priority case where he's hoping to see some change.

0:36:550:37:02

I spoke to the gentleman on the phone. He wants to hang onto the dogs, which I'm all for,

0:37:030:37:08

so we're just going to go back and have a look and see how things are going.

0:37:080:37:12

Hopefully we'll see some improvement.

0:37:120:37:15

I can give him a voucher to take one of the dogs to the vet's as well,

0:37:150:37:19

but I want to see some improvement there.

0:37:190:37:22

If there's no improvement at all, perhaps we'll have to go down the line of issuing a warning notice,

0:37:220:37:27

which is a bit more serious, then, but I'm hoping that that won't the case.

0:37:270:37:32

I want to help this gentleman out. He seems to be up against it at the moment.

0:37:320:37:37

He lives on his own, he's got no family or very little friends around him,

0:37:370:37:41

so I think he needs all the help we can offer him.

0:37:410:37:44

As Keith arrives at Albert's front door, there's no obvious sign things have got better.

0:37:470:37:53

Around the back, though, Keith is stunned by the transformation.

0:37:590:38:02

Hee-hee! This is fantastic.

0:38:040:38:06

I bet you two are a lot happier, aren't you?

0:38:060:38:09

In just two days, Albert has done his very best to clear the garden.

0:38:110:38:16

I'm really chuffed to bits. Thank you very much.

0:38:160:38:19

The grass has been cut back, and while it's still not perfect, all the hazards have been removed.

0:38:210:38:27

So we've just got to keep on top of it now, haven't we?

0:38:270:38:30

For Keith, this proves just how committed Albert is to keeping his dogs.

0:38:300:38:35

He's even provided a shelter to protect them from the sun.

0:38:360:38:40

Did you make that?

0:38:400:38:43

Wow. You can come round to mine and do some DIY, I think. I tell you.

0:38:430:38:47

The chain Misty and Wilma were getting tangled up in has also disappeared.

0:38:470:38:52

The spikes are really good.

0:38:520:38:54

Albert has been out specially to buy a proper tether.

0:38:540:38:59

-Where were they from, the pet shop or...?

-Yes.

0:38:590:39:02

From the pet shop.

0:39:020:39:04

Yeah? Oh, no, that's excellent.

0:39:040:39:07

And so they're not going to... They're on swivels, aren't they? So that's good. Wow.

0:39:070:39:12

Albert's really worked for his dogs.

0:39:120:39:14

Have you done all this? Have you had any help?

0:39:140:39:17

You've worked hard, haven't you?

0:39:170:39:19

Yeah.

0:39:190:39:20

And inside, it looks like he's trying to tidy...

0:39:230:39:26

but there's just too much for him to do on his own.

0:39:270:39:32

Now all we've got to do is sort your house out.

0:39:320:39:34

Are you going to start that tomorrow?

0:39:340:39:36

-Yes.

-Has the lady from the council been round?

0:39:360:39:39

Yeah. Is she going to be able to give you any help?

0:39:410:39:44

-Brilliant.

-Albert is expecting some support from the council...

0:39:460:39:50

Good stuff. I won't be a minute.

0:39:500:39:52

..meaning his house will also be cleaned.

0:39:520:39:55

But Keith's determined to keep in touch.

0:39:550:39:58

Things like this do have a habit of reoccurring, but I think... I'm quite often in this neck of the woods.

0:39:580:40:04

If I can spend ten minutes, quarter of an hour with him,

0:40:040:40:07

just checking that he's all right as well as the dogs, then...

0:40:070:40:10

once a month or so, you know, I'm sure he'll be fine.

0:40:100:40:13

I believe a home help's now going to be coming in once or twice a week,

0:40:130:40:17

and it is just keeping on top of things.

0:40:170:40:19

Albert has kept his side of the bargain,

0:40:190:40:22

so Keith offers even more help to ensure Misty's flea allergy is treated.

0:40:220:40:27

So this voucher I'm going to give you...

0:40:270:40:29

if I make it out for up to £45, which is more than enough for

0:40:290:40:33

a consultation and for any treatment that the dog needs.

0:40:330:40:38

Take that voucher with them,

0:40:380:40:40

just give that to the vets and they will send that off to us.

0:40:400:40:44

What I'll do, when we've got some improvements inside as well,

0:40:440:40:48

I'll pop along and I'll microchip the dogs for you. All right?

0:40:480:40:52

Good stuff.

0:40:520:40:53

We've done some good between us, haven't we? And I'll probably pop round next week some time. OK?

0:40:530:40:58

You take care, look after yourself.

0:40:580:41:00

Ta-ta.

0:41:000:41:01

Keith is happy the dogs now have a much better environment

0:41:060:41:10

and will continue to do all he can to make sure Albert gets the help he needs too.

0:41:100:41:15

When he opened the back door of the garden and it was just clear,

0:41:190:41:22

you know, it makes my job so enjoyable to see

0:41:220:41:27

a gentleman who's up against it but has taken the advice the RSPCA have given him.

0:41:270:41:32

The gentleman knows he's got a bit more work to do there,

0:41:320:41:36

but from we saw it two days ago to now, that's unbelievable.

0:41:360:41:39

He's worked his socks off, and it just put a smile on my face.

0:41:390:41:43

I don't mind helping him further now.

0:41:430:41:45

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

0:41:560:42:02

remember there are people out there who will answer your call right around the clock.

0:42:020:42:06

They are who we meet on Animal 24/7.

0:42:060:42:10

Next time...

0:42:120:42:14

The smell is that strong it actually makes me want to vomit.

0:42:140:42:17

-Locked up, four puppies shut in a dark wardrobe.

-There's no ventilation.

0:42:170:42:21

When that's shut, if that light's off, basically you've just locked them in a cupboard and that's not on.

0:42:210:42:26

-You can't lock them in a cupboard.

-They do come out.

0:42:260:42:29

A late-night stake-out for a snared badger.

0:42:290:42:31

We've been here five hours and the little badger hasn't turned up, unfortunately.

0:42:310:42:38

And I'm hoping practice makes perfect, as I help to move this bad-tempered croc.

0:42:380:42:43

Do be aware that these animals also have the ability to thrash, so no faces anywhere near their head.

0:42:430:42:49

-So don't put it up there cos...

-That's not a good idea.

0:42:490:42:52

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:160:43:18

E-mail subtitling@bbc.co.uk

0:43:180:43:20

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

RSPCA Inspector Keith Hogben goes to the aid of two dogs and quickly realises their owner needs help too. A team enters a bidding war to try and save Dartmoor Ponies and Plummet the gannet lives up to his name.