Episode 17 Animal 24:7


Episode 17

The RSPCA are needed to deal with a pack of terrified German shepherds living a life of grime, a swan gets its stomach pumped and Tom Heap is on patrol at the Barnet Horse Fair.


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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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Today on Animal 24:7...

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heartbreaking scenes as a pack of 11 dogs are taken from their filthy home.

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You could see them coming down there. They were scared to death

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because they'd never been out of his garden.

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Which is horrible.

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A swan gets its stomach pumped.

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In a bird that's got a lot of lead, they're going to continue to absorb it

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through their gizzard because it grinds it down.

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They'll end up dying of their disease.

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And I'm on patrol at the Barnet horse fair.

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If there are animals there illegally they will be seized.

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If we need to arrest people, we will.

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But first to a story that shows what can happen

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when dogs aren't given the attention they need.

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RSPCA inspector Gary Eastwood has been told that 14 untrained Alsatians

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are living in one house.

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They've developed a pack mentality

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and Gary's worried about what could happen if they got out of the house.

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Nottingham. RSPCA inspector Gary Eastwood is on his way

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to a difficult and potentially dangerous job.

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My worry is that if we try and get however many there is,

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12 or 14 German Shepherds out

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we may end up using graspers, which is not good for the dogs

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but we've also got a public safety problem

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in that if any of the dogs get off,

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they might be a little bit snappy.

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Gary is determined to get the dogs away from the house

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so the police have been called.

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They can legally seize the animals if the owner refuses to co-operate.

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Is he in?

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Hi, Mr Oppolio.

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We've come to talk to you about your dogs again.

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-All right.

-Right.

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But the owner is happy to let the team inside

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where the dogs instantly make their presence felt.

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CHORUS OF BARKING

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But the welcome is short-lived.

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When we spoke to you last time, you mentioned wanting to sign some over

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-or not signing any over.

-I don't want to sign any over.

-You don't.

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The distressed barking next door gives an idea of the scale of this job.

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And a look outside reveals the horrific conditions

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these dogs have had to endure.

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The garden where they live is swimming in mud.

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With little shelter from the wind and rain.

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Gary spells out what's at stake.

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-You know this law we work under, the Animal Welfare Act.

-Yeah.

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It basically gives rights to certain animals.

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It says all animals have to have enough room to express their normal behaviour.

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And enough human contact so they all get a good walk every day.

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I don't think you can be giving them enough exercise.

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You can't carry on like this. You'll get in trouble with us and the law.

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I'm trying to sort the situation out for you.

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-I don't want to take you to court and take all your dogs off you.

-Well, take me to court.

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The owner is refusing to sign over any of his dogs.

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Gary's not making any progress.

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Can we have a look at your dogs, then?

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He tries a different approach.

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Are they all OK? All reasonably friendly?

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-Yeah.

-We're not going to get bitten?

-Oh, shouldn't do.

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The owner clearly can't control them.

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Are you all right with them? Is everybody all right with this?

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-DOGS SNARL

-Get back!

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With a ferocious response, he's beaten back.

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But the vet and Gary's colleague Sue must get a closer look at the dogs.

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They squeeze their way through to the kitchen.

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Are you OK, Sue? Shall I put my foot behind the door?

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Gary mans the door to prevent the dogs escaping.

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I've got it.

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If Sue can't reach a compromise soon, the owner may be prosecuted.

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Unfortunately you can sort of see the attitude of the chap.

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He's not listening to any sense. We may have to take it a bit further.

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AGGRESSIVE BARKING

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And in the kitchen it's clear things inside are just as bad as outside.

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That's the floor. I'll shut the door quick if the dogs come in. I don't want them in here.

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Sue and the vet Ben Hughes soon emerge to give their verdict.

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And there's been a dramatic change of heart.

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Are you all right?

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Yeah. He's signing them over.

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Excellent!

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-Apart from three.

-Fantastic.

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After considering what's at stake,

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the owner has realised he can't keep animals this way.

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But removing them is a messy job for all.

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Come on, Tess. Come on.

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The filth is not the only problem.

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That's a good girl.

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They're feral, petrified dogs.

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Covered in muck and grime, they have to be dragged towards the van.

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-Right.

-Have you got the one this side?

-Yep.

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I'll do the front. You do the back. Straight in.

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And these two are just the first of 11 that have to be removed.

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-All right, Sue?

-Yes.

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Some are even more reluctant to budge.

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Backed into a corner, they still have the potential to be dangerous.

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Keeping her distance, Sue eventually persuades this one to leave.

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Come on, Bonnie.

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Others simply refuse to move.

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And there's only one option left.

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There we go.

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-Nellie.

-Nellie. I'll write that on my hand.

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As the dogs continue to be loaded up,

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the vet spots one has been bitten by another member of the pack.

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I'll have to check her out cos she just got clamped on by one of the other dogs.

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These should be proud, handsome dogs,

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but they're almost unrecognisable as Alsatians.

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Come on.

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And they're united in a loathing of being led or handled in any way.

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You do the front, I'll do the back. Go. Come on, Sabre. There you go.

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Gary simply can't understand the scale of this neglect.

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To look after a dog properly is not just a matter of feeding it.

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You could teach a chimp to feed a dog!

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That's not what ownership is about. It's about companionship, doing the best you can for them.

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This one is seven months old.

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At seven months old, it should get three good walks a day. But it's living in a back garden.

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-You don't want to walk anywhere, do you!

-This way.

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You could see them coming down there. They were physically scared to death

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because they'd never been out of his garden -

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which is horrible!

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The team has to wait for reinforcements to arrive to take the last few dogs.

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This distressing job is not over yet.

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The animals were terrified on the short walk to the van.

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No-one knows how they'll react once they're taken away from their home for good.

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Still to come: the petrified dogs arrive at the kennels.

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That dog's hearing and smelling things that we can't begin to comprehend.

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It may be more scared now than when we got it out of the house.

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And Passport Control at the Barnet horse fair.

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-The question I asked was, "How many horses do you have?"

-I told you five!

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Five. I said, "Do you have the passports for those horses?" You said yes.

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I didn't mean those others.

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Swans often form close bonds with their mates.

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So if one becomes sick or injured and is taken for treatment,

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the rescuers have two problems on their hands.

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First, to treat the injury,

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then to get the animal back to the wild before their families reject them.

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East Winch wildlife hospital in Norfolk.

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There's an emergency admission.

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Animal collection officer Craig Plumtree

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found this injured swan on a nearby river.

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He's rushed it through to see vet Helen Osborne.

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One swan for you.

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Lovely. Can you tell me what's happened to it?

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I found it with its partner. Its partner is nesting on about a dozen eggs, actually.

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It had blood all over the side of its wing. I managed to catch it.

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I had a quick look at it. It's got an injury under its wing.

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His cygnets may be just days from being born.

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It's vital this father is back with them as soon as possible.

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There's probably a lot of blood around here.

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Let's have a look.

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Helen thinks the swan may have been attacked

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but then she spots a serious problem -

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a huge growth.

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Huge. I've never seen anything like this before in a swan's wing.

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It could be a haematoma,

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basically a bleed into the tissue around here caused from trauma.

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The priority is to take a closer look and try and establish

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exactly what it is.

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It does look quite bad and I think determining what this is here

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will probably determine the outcome, really.

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Helen takes a sample to be analysed.

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All hopes of reuniting the bird with his family now

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rest on the results of these tests.

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We're probably looking about 50/50 at the moment.

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Depending on how he responds to treatment will depend on the outcome.

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All the team can do is wait.

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Over the other side of the surgery, there's another male swan pining for its mate.

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He was brought in a week ago.

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There were no obvious injuries, but the bird was struggling to walk.

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Then an x-ray revealed the problem. Worryingly,

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this swan has been poisoned by lead.

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This density here is a piece of lead.

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We've taken a blood sample and the levels are high.

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Helen thinks the lead is probably from a fishing weight.

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These are now illegal, but old ones still remain

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at the bottom of lakes.

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Naturally,

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swans and other birds will eat grit and things like that to grind their food down.

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Often, they pick up lead shot when they're eating grit because it sinks to the bottom of lakes.

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The chances of birds recovering from lead poisoning are slim.

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But Helen and her team is determined to do all they can.

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The swan's stomach will be flushed in an attempt to remove the lead.

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It's a tricky and unusual procedure.

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If the animal's quite sick, they can die under anaesthetic

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so we like to stabilise them first to reduce that risk.

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Obviously there's risk of rupturing their stomach as well

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but that's rare and happens in birds that are quite sick.

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It's the bird's only chance.

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In a bird that's got a lot of lead, they continue to absorb it through their gizzard

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because it grinds it down and then it goes into their bloodstream

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and they end up dying of their disease.

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The swan is secured to the table.

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Helen begins the procedure.

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We tend to measure the tube so we know exactly how far we need to go in.

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With the tube in place, the nurse can now begin pumping the water.

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We're getting grit coming through so we know we're in the right place.

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So we just move the tube up and down gently.

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Grit is clearly being flushed away.

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The question now is whether the lead has also been removed.

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We'll have a look through this for the lead shot to see if it's out.

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And take an x-ray as well, to make sure we've got it out.

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But the x-ray results aren't good.

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This is lead that's still inside his stomach.

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Obviously all the grit's been removed

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so it may well be embedded in the stomach wall

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so it might not come out easily. We'll flush it again to see if we can remove it.

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Every minute under anaesthetic is a risk to the bird.

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This will be Helen's last chance to remove the lead.

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She scans the tray, searching for the lead.

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I can't see anything in there that looks very convincing.

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Helen now needs to do another x-ray to see if the procedure has worked this time.

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OK. This is the second x-ray after the second gizzard flush.

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As you can see, there's no more lead in the gizzard

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so it's been successful and the shot's been flushed away.

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It's brilliant news for the swan.

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The operation is over.

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What this bird needs now is to build its strength back up.

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But this means spending more time away from his mate.

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The longer they're apart, the less chance there is of a happy reunion.

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Coming up:

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the swan is fit for release, but will the team be able to find him?

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Oh, a nine-ten.

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Oh, so close!

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It is going to be the last one.

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And Gary tries his best to win the trust of the terrified Alsatians.

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Most dogs, if you make a noise or whistle, they'll come up

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and either growl or wag their tail.

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These things do nothing.

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They just sort of... They just sort of ignore you.

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Today, I'm at the Barnet horse fair.

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It's a traditional event where travellers, gypsies and horse traders

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have been gathering to do business for over 500 years.

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I'm joining the police and the RSPCA to see how they monitor animal welfare at such an event.

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Our role here today as the RSPCA

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is obviously to ensure the welfare of all the animals here,

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be it equines, or, in years gone by, we've had problems with dogs in cars, even ferrets in cars.

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If there are animals that are there illegally

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they will be seized and the RSPCA will find a place of safety for them.

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If we need to arrest people, we will.

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This is how the day starts for Andy and the team,

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checking the horse boxes as they come in, making sure the horses are OK

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with the RSPCA's help and also making sure they have their paperwork in order

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if they're going to buy, sell and transport. Let's see how they're getting on.

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At this checkpoint, they look at each and every horse and vehicle that comes to the fair.

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'I'm not quite sure why the previous reports are wrong.

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'This last record I've given you has all the information on as far as I'm concerned.'

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This horse box is the latest to be given a routine inspection.

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He's going to come down and we'll have a look.

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The law now states that every single horse coming into the fair

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must have a passport.

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These include the age, colour and breed of the animal

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and their ownership details.

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They're a vital tool in preventing fraudulent trade.

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It soon becomes clear to PC Andy Wigley

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that something doesn't add up.

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These are all horse passports.

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We got a load of horses, love.

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Andy asks to see the passports for the five horses on the lorry.

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-Within all these passports, are there five for these five horses?

-No.

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There seems to be a problem.

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-The question I asked you is how many horses do you have...

-I told you five.

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Five. And I said do you have the passports for those five horses and you said yes.

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-I didn't mean...

-You didn't mean those horses.

-No.

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-We're satisfied...

-What's the problem?

-You can't move the horses without passports.

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This driver has 150 passports with him, but only five horses.

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To make matters worse, none of the passports match the animals he has in the lorry!

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Andy is worried that these horses may be traded illegally.

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He continues his enquiries.

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-What are you doing with them?

-We're delivering them.

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-We're delivering them for a man.

-Which man are you delivering for?

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-He's a dealer.

-Is he?

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I'll just do some checks.

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Meanwhile, the RSPCA takes a closer look at the horses

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to ensure they're fit and healthy.

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We've got two bays, a white horse, a grey horse and a black-and-white horse.

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A little black-and-white one.

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Why is it so important to check vehicles coming in to the fair?

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If the horses are in transit for some time,

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we want to make sure they're fine and their welfare is OK.

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Have they been caused any injuries whilst in transit.

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The horses are well cared for.

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The men insist they're not planning to sell them.

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Andy decides that a diplomatic approach is the best way forward.

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You let those five horses through without passports. Why's that?

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The law changed on the first of September. It's only the fourth of September now.

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The reality is we're trying to educate them

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rather than enforce straightaway.

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Are you hoping to catch up with them on the site of the fair?

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-Another team are with them on the fair site at the moment.

-Right.

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We will know if those horses are sold, which is an offence.

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It's mid-morning and the fair is in full swing. Traders and buyers gather to do business.

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This area here is known as "the flashing lane",

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where horses are shown off to potential buyers.

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Inspector Natalie Bartle is in charge of monitoring the welfare of the animals.

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-What are you looking for?

-That they're not over-riding the horses.

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Making sure that they're not giving the same horse

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a lot of times up and down where it's exhausted.

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If it gets to that, I'll intervene.

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When they're getting exhausted, what are the symptoms? What can you see?

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Sweating heavily. And start having foam around the mouth.

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That's the time they need to be stopped to prevent exhaustion.

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Everything seems to be going smoothly here.

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But over the other side of the fair, a van has been stopped for a routine check

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and investigations have uncovered a new problem.

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What's going on here?

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This vehicle partly has come to our attention because I believe it's in a dangerous condition.

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There's chunks of metal which are loose. They have three seven-week-old Jack Russell puppies

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and the lady has stated her intention is to sell them at the fair.

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And that's not acceptable.

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Despite the allegation, the owner is keen to introduce me to her puppies

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and quickly changes her story.

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-Celia, Mary and Emily.

-How old are they?

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-Seven weeks old.

-Seven weeks.

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It ain't against the law to have a puppy, is it?

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-It's not against the law, no.

-I'm the original owner of them.

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-What's the problem?

-Is the mum at home?

0:21:460:21:48

-No, she died having them.

-They look like nice little dogs.

0:21:480:21:51

What are you taking them to the fair for?

0:21:510:21:53

Cos everywhere I go, I takes them!

0:21:530:21:55

They've got to be fed and watered.

0:21:550:21:57

-You're not taking them to sell them?

-No. I do sell dogs,

0:21:570:22:02

but I'm not selling them. They're my dogs,

0:22:020:22:04

what I'm keeping.

0:22:040:22:06

Selling puppies at the fair is illegal.

0:22:060:22:09

This owner's conflicting information is a cause for suspicion.

0:22:090:22:13

The first thing that lady said to me was she was taking the puppies in to sell.

0:22:130:22:17

As soon as I said, "You can't sell puppies",

0:22:170:22:20

she changed her mind.

0:22:200:22:22

This time I'm satisfied she's going in to sell those dogs.

0:22:220:22:25

The reality is, when they get inside the fair,

0:22:250:22:28

-it's impossible for us to regulate that.

-What happens to the dogs if they can't go in to the fair?

0:22:280:22:33

If the RSPCA are happy with the condition of the dogs,

0:22:330:22:37

they can keep them, but can't go into the fair with them.

0:22:370:22:40

RSPCA inspector Charlotte Eden begins her assessments.

0:22:420:22:45

-Can I have a quick look at the puppies?

-There you go.

0:22:450:22:49

-Are they bred from one of yours at home?

-Yeah, they are.

0:22:490:22:53

-Is Mum with them today?

-No, Mum died, darling.

-OK.

0:22:530:22:57

Why have you brought them today?

0:22:570:22:59

There's nobody to look after them at home. They've got to be fed and watered.

0:22:590:23:04

-They've got to be looked after.

-How do they look to you?

0:23:040:23:08

-They look in good condition. They're pot-bellied. Have you wormed them?

-Yes, I have.

0:23:080:23:14

Whilst everything is OK with the puppies, there's an issue with the car.

0:23:160:23:20

You cannot drive it on the road in that condition.

0:23:200:23:23

The police have decided this car is unroadworthy

0:23:230:23:27

and order the owner to take it for repairs immediately.

0:23:270:23:29

Regardless of the owner's intentions,

0:23:310:23:33

the puppies won't be going to the fair after all.

0:23:330:23:36

-You're taking them home now?

-MAN:

-Yeah, they're my kids' pets.

0:23:380:23:42

I was only showing them off at the fair.

0:23:420:23:44

-So you're allowed to take the van back?

-As long as it's just me.

0:23:440:23:48

-As long as there's nobody in it.

-Thank you.

-I'll shut the door on you.

0:23:480:23:52

Who knows? Maybe he was going to sell them at the fair.

0:23:530:23:57

Or maybe he was taking them out for the day.

0:23:570:24:01

But because of the condition of the truck, he's got to go home anyway.

0:24:010:24:05

And while the owner and puppies go on their way,

0:24:050:24:09

the rest of the fair is winding down too.

0:24:090:24:12

There are one or two horses still trotting by,

0:24:140:24:17

but most people are packing up for the day.

0:24:170:24:20

It's been a successful day for the community who've shown off lots of horses and made a bit of money

0:24:200:24:25

and the police and the RSPCA were especially thankful

0:24:250:24:30

that due to their work and with the backing of the community

0:24:300:24:33

it's been a very successful Barnet horse fair.

0:24:330:24:38

Later: Dad's back, but will he be welcome home?

0:24:410:24:44

I can see one swan with two cygnets a bit further down here.

0:24:440:24:48

Right. Here we go.

0:24:480:24:50

After you, mate.

0:24:500:24:52

Earlier in the programme, we saw how the RSPCA had been called to a house

0:24:570:25:01

where a pack of potentially dangerous dogs

0:25:010:25:04

were living in horrendous conditions.

0:25:040:25:06

Inspector Gary Eastwood and his team

0:25:060:25:09

have already removed most of the dogs,

0:25:090:25:11

but their job is far from over.

0:25:110:25:14

With reinforcements on the scene,

0:25:190:25:21

the last of these petrified dogs have finally left their home.

0:25:210:25:25

It's been a stressful job for all the team.

0:25:250:25:28

It's not a God-given right to own an animal.

0:25:280:25:31

It should be a privilege.

0:25:310:25:32

These animals have just existed.

0:25:320:25:36

When we get to the kennels, they'll get inoculated, wormed, de-flead, bathed.

0:25:360:25:40

See how muddy they are. It's just too many to have.

0:25:400:25:44

These dogs didn't choose to live in this mud bath.

0:25:440:25:47

They had to.

0:25:470:25:49

Now they're being taken away.

0:25:500:25:52

But their mental states are causing real concern.

0:25:520:25:56

Because he's never had them on a lead, all they've known is the garden.

0:25:570:26:01

One of them came out and it smelt some grass

0:26:010:26:04

in his front garden and it was almost bewildered by it.

0:26:040:26:09

It didn't want to leave this bit of grass because its senses were being overloaded.

0:26:090:26:13

It saw other people, it saw vehicles and it saw a road.

0:26:130:26:18

They've never seen these sort of things.

0:26:180:26:20

The local kennels are just a few miles away.

0:26:230:26:26

The dogs' nervousness shows no signs of letting up.

0:26:260:26:29

Come on.

0:26:290:26:31

Come on, then.

0:26:310:26:33

Watch the legs. Come on, Tess. Good girl. Good girl.

0:26:340:26:37

These dogs have all behaved like a pack in that house.

0:26:380:26:41

We're now at some kennels where there's perhaps 150 other dogs.

0:26:410:26:45

That dog's hearing and smelling things that we can't begin to comprehend. It's probably thinking,

0:26:450:26:51

"There's a big pack here." It may be more scared now than when we got them out of the house.

0:26:510:26:56

So you've got to reassure them so that they think he's my little mate.

0:26:560:27:01

They're now coming into the rescue centre thick and fast.

0:27:020:27:06

This one, who's already been attacked by one of the other dogs,

0:27:060:27:09

is in a state of shock.

0:27:090:27:11

-All right, Sue?

-Yeah, he's almost there.

0:27:110:27:14

It looks a bit brutal, but it's better than getting a grasper on them.

0:27:140:27:18

She desperately clings to the ground.

0:27:180:27:20

Eventually, though,

0:27:200:27:22

with some gentle encouragement, she's coaxed over the threshold.

0:27:220:27:26

She's just too scared. There's so much going on with the new surroundings,

0:27:260:27:30

new smells and sounds, she can hear all the dogs in the kennels.

0:27:300:27:35

Just too scared at the moment.

0:27:350:27:36

She'll come round, though.

0:27:360:27:39

This cycle of fear is going to take some time to break.

0:27:390:27:43

As soon as they get sight of the other dogs kept here,

0:27:430:27:47

a fresh bout of panic breaks out.

0:27:470:27:50

Back outside, there are more dogs to be brought in.

0:27:530:27:56

These two are paralysed with fright.

0:27:560:27:58

But although they look submissive,

0:28:010:28:03

their mental state makes them unpredictable.

0:28:030:28:05

Gary does all he can to win their trust.

0:28:100:28:13

I'm going to see what it does if I walk up here.

0:28:130:28:15

This is your little bed up here.

0:28:150:28:17

It'll be nice in here.

0:28:170:28:19

You can see they're not wild

0:28:200:28:23

but most dogs, if you make a noise like whistle, or "hello!",

0:28:230:28:26

they'll either growl at you or wag their tail.

0:28:260:28:29

These things do nothing.

0:28:290:28:31

They just sort of... They just sort of ignore you.

0:28:310:28:35

Split up from the pack, the dogs are safe enough for now.

0:28:370:28:40

But this lack of response could point to deep-seated problems.

0:28:400:28:44

And there's a danger their fragile mental state might make it impossible for them to be retrained

0:28:440:28:49

as family pets.

0:28:490:28:52

Still to come:

0:29:000:29:02

The delivery dog often laughed about the jobs he had to do.

0:29:020:29:05

Revolutionary therapy. But will it work?

0:29:050:29:09

The dog doesn't have to go on a lead. It doesn't have to be stroked.

0:29:090:29:13

It doesn't have to be brushed. It can literally sit and listen.

0:29:130:29:17

Now it's back to RSPCA East Winch

0:29:200:29:22

and the two swans that needed medical attention.

0:29:220:29:25

Both had to be taken away from their mates.

0:29:250:29:28

One was suffering from lead poisoning, the other had a tumour on its wing.

0:29:280:29:32

Thankfully, this proved to be benign and was removed.

0:29:320:29:35

Now both swans are back to full health and it's time for them to go home.

0:29:350:29:39

But will they be welcomed back?

0:29:390:29:42

Animal collection officer Justin Stubbs

0:29:480:29:50

has arrived to collect the fully recovered swan to take it back to the wild.

0:29:500:29:55

-Hi, Alison.

-Hiya.

0:29:550:29:56

Alison Chards has been caring for him during rehabilitation.

0:29:560:30:00

How's he doing?

0:30:000:30:03

Very good, actually.

0:30:030:30:05

He's ready to go and he looks very well.

0:30:050:30:08

A different swan to the one Craig brought in!

0:30:080:30:10

-He looks very well now.

-OK.

0:30:100:30:12

The swan has been away from his family for over a month.

0:30:120:30:15

There's a real worry they may reject him.

0:30:150:30:18

It's been in for a while, having to heal, so whether it goes back to its family, we don't know.

0:30:180:30:23

See what happens.

0:30:230:30:24

But Justin is determined to try and reunite them.

0:30:280:30:32

So the swan is taken an hour's drive away to the Norfolk fens.

0:30:320:30:36

The last time this swan was on the river, his mate was sitting on eggs.

0:30:380:30:42

He's huge!

0:30:420:30:44

He'll know where he is.

0:30:450:30:47

Now his babies have been born.

0:30:490:30:51

Hopefully we'll end up with a nice emotional family reunion.

0:30:510:30:55

But if she has met up with somebody, it could be a bit of a war!

0:30:570:31:01

As Justin approaches the river, the family is spooked and move further downstream.

0:31:030:31:08

I can see one swan with two cygnets a bit further down here.

0:31:080:31:12

This is where we picked him up from. So this is where we release him, whatever happens.

0:31:120:31:18

Justin finally catches up with the young family.

0:31:180:31:21

Now it's time to see how they react to Dad coming home.

0:31:210:31:24

I'm not going to go any closer to the river than this.

0:31:250:31:28

He's just going to have to have a walk through the nettles.

0:31:280:31:31

Right. Here we go.

0:31:340:31:36

Up to you, mate.

0:31:360:31:37

It's not the most graceful of descents.

0:31:420:31:45

And the reception is far from welcoming.

0:31:470:31:50

Mum's being really defensive at the minute, swimming with the head so far back.

0:31:510:31:55

The aggressive fast swimming towards him.

0:31:560:31:59

The male heads off down the river,

0:31:590:32:02

putting some space between him and his new family.

0:32:020:32:05

They've been apart for the better part of five weeks, now.

0:32:060:32:10

They always run the risk of losing that bond.

0:32:100:32:12

But after several minutes, the mother heads off too,

0:32:150:32:18

following her old mate.

0:32:180:32:20

It's hardly a romantic reunion,

0:32:200:32:22

but this is a good sign.

0:32:220:32:24

Hopefully, with time, they'll recognise each other again

0:32:240:32:28

and all will be well!

0:32:280:32:30

Back at East Winch, there's another swan waiting to go home.

0:32:380:32:42

After his operation, the swan with lead poisoning

0:32:440:32:47

has also made a full recovery.

0:32:470:32:49

He's been recuperating with 20 other swans in the outdoor enclosure.

0:32:500:32:55

Our swan looks absolutely fabulous. We're going to catch him up.

0:32:550:32:59

It's been three months that he's taken to recover since his flushing.

0:32:590:33:03

But he looks fabulous and he's ready to go back.

0:33:030:33:06

But finding him amongst his companions is easier said than done!

0:33:060:33:11

We'll have to corral them all in this corral that we use for cleaning the pens.

0:33:110:33:15

Then we'll have to work our way through them. Of course, it'll be the last one!

0:33:150:33:20

But when we get to the right ring number, we'll take it and put it in the bag.

0:33:200:33:25

If we work them up that way. Pretend you're a sheepdog!

0:33:280:33:31

With some skilful shepherding, Alison and Jenny herd the swans

0:33:310:33:37

towards the gate.

0:33:370:33:38

And the swans seem to be on their best behaviour.

0:33:390:33:43

You as well, big fella!

0:33:430:33:45

Alison has soon got them just where she wants them.

0:33:460:33:49

Right. First part accomplished.

0:33:500:33:53

There's a huge array of swans in here.

0:33:540:33:57

We've got all sorts. Lead poisoning, fishing line,

0:33:570:34:01

fishing hooks been pulled out of them.

0:34:010:34:03

Some are ready to go back, some are still recovering.

0:34:030:34:06

We'll see if we can find ours.

0:34:060:34:08

Let's give it a go, shall we?

0:34:080:34:10

The search begins.

0:34:130:34:15

Alison needs to check the numbered rings on the birds' legs.

0:34:150:34:19

947. OK, not you.

0:34:240:34:26

These swans are still recovering so go back to the enclosure.

0:34:280:34:31

Finding the right swan is proving difficult.

0:34:350:34:38

Oh, 910!

0:34:380:34:40

Oh, so close!

0:34:400:34:41

It is going to be the last one!

0:34:410:34:43

But with only a few left,

0:34:430:34:46

Alison spots a likely candidate.

0:34:460:34:48

He looks quite well.

0:34:480:34:50

And finally, her lucky number's up.

0:34:520:34:54

I've got him. It is him.

0:34:540:34:56

He did look well and it is him.

0:34:560:34:58

Right. Good. Let's get him in the bag.

0:34:580:35:00

Good stuff.

0:35:010:35:03

This bird is also heading back to his mate.

0:35:070:35:10

But he's been away from her for three months now

0:35:100:35:13

and there's a real chance she might reject him.

0:35:130:35:16

At the lake,

0:35:190:35:20

the female seems to be waiting.

0:35:200:35:23

But before the swan can be set free, there's someone else keen to greet him.

0:35:240:35:28

Tony Barratt cares for all the birds on this lake.

0:35:280:35:32

He's been anxiously waiting for the swan's return.

0:35:320:35:35

-Hi, Mr Barratt!

-Hello, boy!

0:35:350:35:37

He's back. So is this where we're going?

0:35:370:35:40

Yeah. Do you want a bit of bread?

0:35:400:35:43

I don't imagine he does. I think he wants to get in there.

0:35:430:35:47

You're home again! Shall we take him down to see the other one?

0:35:470:35:50

The female soon spots her mate.

0:35:510:35:54

And he seems keen to get to her too!

0:35:540:35:56

Do you want to go in now?

0:35:590:36:01

Do you?

0:36:010:36:03

With a little helping hand and some final goodbyes,

0:36:030:36:06

the swan takes the plunge.

0:36:060:36:08

And heads straight to his mate!

0:36:100:36:12

And after a little lap of honour to prove he's fully recovered,

0:36:190:36:23

the lovebirds are together again.

0:36:230:36:26

Getting animals back to the wild is the best part of our job.

0:36:260:36:29

When they come back to a really good site like this,

0:36:290:36:32

it's great!

0:36:320:36:34

Finally, we're back in Nottingham

0:36:420:36:44

where the RSPCA took away 11 Alsatians

0:36:440:36:47

that were living in dreadful conditions.

0:36:470:36:49

Many were feral and uncontrollable.

0:36:490:36:52

The dogs were taken to kennels, but some were so unused to people,

0:36:520:36:56

they since turned nasty, even attacking the kennel hands,

0:36:560:37:00

so the safest thing to do was put them to sleep.

0:37:000:37:02

But others showed no signs of aggression

0:37:020:37:05

so for them, there is still some hope.

0:37:050:37:09

This is Twilight and Mystery.

0:37:130:37:16

They're scared,

0:37:160:37:18

but staff are confident they're good-natured dogs at heart.

0:37:180:37:22

Good girl.

0:37:220:37:24

Kennel hands are now trying everything they can

0:37:240:37:28

to help them overcome their fears and become confident family pets.

0:37:280:37:32

They're undergoing a programme of alternative therapy

0:37:360:37:40

to try and calm their nerves.

0:37:400:37:42

Hello!

0:37:420:37:43

Come on, then. Are you going to listen to a story?

0:37:430:37:47

Today it's book therapy. This is a revolutionary theory

0:37:480:37:53

based on the idea that reading to animals in a calming voice

0:37:530:37:56

can help them trust people once more.

0:37:560:37:59

Dasher, the delivery dog, often laughed about the jobs he had to do.

0:37:590:38:03

It was lucky that he was such a lively, cheerful dog

0:38:030:38:08

because his customers were sometimes very difficult.

0:38:080:38:12

It's just part of a whole programme

0:38:120:38:15

designed to help these dogs regain their confidence.

0:38:150:38:18

The dog doesn't have to go on a lead, doesn't have to be stroked,

0:38:180:38:22

doesn't have to be brushed.

0:38:220:38:24

It can literally sit and listen.

0:38:240:38:27

If a dog wants comfort, they get it. If they want to sit on their lap, they can.

0:38:270:38:31

If the dog wants to sit in the corner and listen, that's what they'll allow.

0:38:310:38:35

DOGS BARK DOWN CORRIDOR

0:38:350:38:37

Twilight and Mystery's old home was far from ordinary.

0:38:370:38:40

So staff are also introducing them

0:38:400:38:43

to the smells associated with a more normal home environment.

0:38:430:38:48

They smell different things on a daily basis. Food being cooked,

0:38:490:38:52

school bags coming home,

0:38:520:38:54

disinfectants you'd use to clean a kitchen and bathroom.

0:38:540:38:57

This is to stimulate their noses, basically.

0:38:570:39:00

In the evening we spray lavender oil, to give them a calming effect to go to bed on.

0:39:000:39:05

This extraordinary rehabilitation programme

0:39:060:39:10

includes a special diet and plenty of toys.

0:39:100:39:13

You like it, don't you?

0:39:130:39:15

Are you going to take it?

0:39:150:39:16

Through all this treatment,

0:39:160:39:18

Twilight and Mystery's personalities

0:39:180:39:21

are finally starting to emerge.

0:39:210:39:23

One of them, Twilight, she's extremely cheeky.

0:39:230:39:27

She'll come up and take things.

0:39:270:39:29

If you put a blanket down, she'll pull it around and go outside.

0:39:290:39:32

It means she's got a nice character.

0:39:320:39:35

The one at the back, Mystery, literally is a bit more mysterious.

0:39:350:39:39

She doesn't want to come to us.

0:39:390:39:41

She sits in the corner. She's extremely scared.

0:39:410:39:44

Literally, only time will tell.

0:39:440:39:47

We've all got our fingers crossed that it'll be a positive result.

0:39:470:39:51

A few months later,

0:39:540:39:56

and the difference in these two dogs is remarkable.

0:39:560:39:59

To speed their recovery, they've been put in the care of animal behaviourist Anne O'Brien.

0:40:020:40:08

She's spent years training thousands of pets at Battersea Dogs Home.

0:40:080:40:13

Come on!

0:40:130:40:14

When Anna first introduced me to Mystery and Twilight,

0:40:140:40:18

they were glued in a corner of the kennel.

0:40:180:40:20

They wouldn't come out, they were so reliant on one another. Nobody else came into the picture.

0:40:200:40:27

A dramatic change was needed.

0:40:280:40:31

For the first time in their lives, they had to face being on their own.

0:40:310:40:35

First, we needed to separate them.

0:40:350:40:37

They've both come out with different personalities and characters.

0:40:370:40:41

The first thing we needed to do with them was get them out of the kennel

0:40:410:40:45

and get them used to walking on a lead.

0:40:450:40:48

They'd never been on a lead before and it was a shock to the system.

0:40:480:40:51

So once they got used to that,

0:40:510:40:54

we started to take them out in very quiet areas like this. Letting them explore themselves.

0:40:540:41:00

It's quite intensive in time with the two of them.

0:41:000:41:05

It's a fine line between mollycoddling them and reassuring them

0:41:050:41:10

when they're exploring and doing all the activity they need to do.

0:41:100:41:14

It's hard to believe these are the same dogs.

0:41:140:41:18

Two months ago, their reaction to being on a lead was shocking.

0:41:180:41:22

Both dogs were paralysed with fear

0:41:240:41:26

having never been out of their previous home.

0:41:260:41:29

But now the transformation is very encouraging

0:41:300:41:33

and Anne is confident about their future.

0:41:330:41:36

So far, they're both exploring, both coming out of themselves, both building confidence.

0:41:360:41:42

Fingers crossed, we're well on the way with them

0:41:420:41:45

and they're going to a new home.

0:41:450:41:47

If you think you know of a case of wildlife crime

0:41:550:41:59

or a creature that needs immediate protection,

0:41:590:42:02

remember there are people out there to 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 on Animal 24:7...

0:42:120:42:15

Babe, the starved Great Dane reduced to skin and bone.

0:42:150:42:19

The rib bones, you wouldn't expect to see them that prominently.

0:42:190:42:23

This is an emaciated dog.

0:42:230:42:26

A night-time pursuit in search of illegal poachers.

0:42:260:42:29

Two reports from two separate witnesses on the same incident.

0:42:290:42:34

I'd say the trail was pretty hot at the moment.

0:42:340:42:38

He's a bit interested. He can smell it.

0:42:390:42:41

And will this scaredy-cat take the bait?

0:42:410:42:44

If the cat listens to the instructions I give it, it'll be a piece of cake.

0:42:440:42:49

But I've a funny feeling it's not going to!

0:42:490:42:52

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:170:43:20

Series following people dedicated to rescuing Britain's wildlife and pets.

The RSPCA are needed to deal with a pack of terrified German shepherds living a life of grime, a swan gets its stomach pumped and presenter Tom Heap is on patrol at the Barnet Horse Fair.


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