Episode 6 Animal 24:7


Episode 6

The RSPCA investigates a shocking case of animal cruelty; a baby cygnet fights to survive; and Tom Heap helps round up a herd of wild horses.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Episode 6. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Britain's animals are under threat.

0:00:040:00:06

All too often our wildlife and domestic pets

0:00:060:00:09

are the victims of cruelty, persecution and neglect.

0:00:090:00:13

Fighting to save them is a dedicated band of people

0:00:130:00:16

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

0:00:160:00:20

This is Animal 24:7.

0:00:200:00:24

On Animal 24:7 today, a harrowing case of animal cruelty.

0:00:440:00:49

I've never seen anything like this. I think that anyone that can do that to an animal is just...

0:00:490:00:54

It's disgusting.

0:00:540:00:56

And a staggering admission from the man responsible.

0:00:560:01:00

I didn't know what else to do.

0:01:000:01:02

A young cygnet's fight to stay alive.

0:01:060:01:09

If people took away their fishing litter we wouldn't have this problem

0:01:090:01:13

and it is upsetting, especially something as sweet as this.

0:01:130:01:16

And I play cowboy to corral a herd of wild horses.

0:01:160:01:20

What are the things you've got to be careful about with these horses?

0:01:200:01:23

A shot to the head can kill you stone dead.

0:01:230:01:26

But we start the programme with a truly shocking story.

0:01:310:01:35

The RSPCA see cruelty to animals on a daily basis

0:01:350:01:38

and that's hard enough to take,

0:01:380:01:41

but sometimes, as in this next case,

0:01:410:01:43

they're greeted by a scene that's almost too much to take.

0:01:430:01:47

It's a cold, wet day in West Yorkshire.

0:01:500:01:53

RSPCA inspector Sarah Keith is responding to an emergency call.

0:01:550:02:01

From the information she has, this could be one of the worst cases she's ever had to deal with.

0:02:030:02:08

We're just on our way to a job at the minute that's come in via the police

0:02:080:02:13

regarding a dog that's been hanged in a back garden.

0:02:130:02:16

I'm not sure who's responsible for this hanging.

0:02:160:02:19

The person who called the police about it went to the dog.

0:02:190:02:22

Initially the dog was alive, he released the dog,

0:02:220:02:25

went outside to phone the police and when he came back,

0:02:250:02:28

the dog had been re-hung by whoever hung it the first time and it subsequently died.

0:02:280:02:32

Somebody is under arrest and the police scenes of crime are on their way to the location.

0:02:320:02:38

We're going to meet them there and take some photographs,

0:02:380:02:41

interview the suspects and hopefully get a conviction out of it.

0:02:410:02:45

This case is now a criminal investigation.

0:02:460:02:48

Both the police and the RSPCA need to gather evidence from the scene.

0:02:480:02:54

It's a grisly sight and an act which Sarah and her colleagues are determined will not go unpunished.

0:02:560:03:02

I've never seen anything like this.

0:03:050:03:07

I think that anyone that can do that to an animal is just...

0:03:070:03:12

It's disgusting.

0:03:120:03:13

And he's got other dogs in the house as well so we'll take those because obviously they're at risk.

0:03:130:03:18

I know of cases where dogs have been hanged and...

0:03:180:03:24

But the one particular one that springs to mind,

0:03:240:03:27

there was no owner, it was found in woods, they never found an owner for that one.

0:03:270:03:31

The circumstances here are different because this is in someone's

0:03:310:03:35

back garden and two people have been arrested,

0:03:350:03:37

so we have a culprit which, you know, is the only good thing to come out of it, really.

0:03:370:03:42

Sarah can't understand why anyone would do this to a family pet.

0:03:420:03:46

I just want to make sure there's no more animals that we've not found.

0:03:460:03:49

But the owners will soon be questioned and Sarah will find out what motivated this cruel act.

0:03:520:03:57

The dog appears to be...

0:04:000:04:01

It looks like some sort of shepherd cross.

0:04:030:04:08

It's a white-coloured dog.

0:04:080:04:10

It looks like quite an old dog.

0:04:100:04:12

The condition of its teeth suggests it's probably fed bone quite a lot,

0:04:120:04:16

but that will all get confirmed by a post mortem.

0:04:160:04:19

With no obvious signs of disease or injury, Sarah must wait for a pathologist's report.

0:04:200:04:26

But her most pressing concern now are the other pets.

0:04:330:04:36

Hello. Go on in, darling.

0:04:360:04:39

They were outside when the police arrived and are now distressed.

0:04:420:04:46

There's two dogs in here, both males.

0:04:460:04:50

Good bodily condition, but we're not prepared to leave them here

0:04:500:04:54

due to what's happened to the other dog, so the police are going to seize

0:04:540:04:58

both of these dogs and we'll take them and board them at one of our animal homes.

0:04:580:05:04

Hello, beautiful.

0:05:040:05:06

The two dogs, Midge and Bouncer, seem to be upset by what they've seen this morning.

0:05:060:05:11

Sarah is determined to try and keep them together.

0:05:140:05:16

Hello, it's Sarah the inspector.

0:05:160:05:20

Have you got a space for two case dogs?

0:05:200:05:23

But finding a home with enough room is proving difficult.

0:05:230:05:27

Is it just the one space is there?

0:05:270:05:29

Right, OK. I'll try one of the other animal homes, then.

0:05:290:05:32

Thanks, bye.

0:05:320:05:33

Finally, after ringing around several homes, Sarah finds a space at a centre in Hull.

0:05:330:05:40

You have.

0:05:400:05:41

At least the short-term future of Midge and Bouncer is now secured.

0:05:410:05:46

Right, OK. I'll probably leave the dogs in situ

0:05:460:05:49

with food and water for now and then I'll probably see you a bit later on.

0:05:490:05:53

Sarah now has the grim task of removing the hanging dog from the tree.

0:05:530:05:58

-Does your scenes of crime...?

-He's finished now.

0:05:580:06:02

-He doesn't want to do anything else with it?

-No.

-Right, because I'll...

0:06:020:06:04

I'll bag it and tag it and it'll go for post mortem.

0:06:040:06:07

The dog and its noose are now evidence in a criminal investigation.

0:06:100:06:15

The animal is placed in a bag so it can be taken away for a post mortem.

0:06:160:06:21

Have you got that rope as well? I'll put that in a separate bag.

0:06:210:06:24

I've left a section of the rope around the dog's neck for the vet

0:06:270:06:30

to have a look at, or the pathologist,

0:06:300:06:32

and the rest of the rope will go in this bag and be exhibited.

0:06:320:06:36

It's been a traumatic few hours for the two remaining dogs.

0:06:390:06:42

Over here, come on.

0:06:420:06:45

With the body now removed, it's safe for them to be allowed into the fresh air once more.

0:06:450:06:50

I think they know what's happened.

0:06:500:06:53

I think when they come out of the house earlier they've obviously

0:06:530:06:56

seen the other dog hanging and I think they're a little bit upset.

0:06:560:06:59

This is a complicated case.

0:06:590:07:03

Sarah has to look after Midge and Bouncer, who seem determined to stick together.

0:07:030:07:07

Over here, come on.

0:07:070:07:09

-No, doesn't want to.

-He wants to go with his friend.

0:07:090:07:12

She also needs to begin the painstaking process of preparing

0:07:120:07:16

-a legal case against whoever was responsible for the hanging.

-And what's the lady's name?

0:07:160:07:21

And there are still plenty of questions that need to be asked.

0:07:210:07:25

I'm just going to take the body of the dead dog for evidence

0:07:250:07:28

and then I'm off to the police station to interview the two suspects

0:07:280:07:31

and hopefully I'll be coming back later on to remove these two dogs.

0:07:310:07:35

We've left them with food and water in the property,

0:07:350:07:38

but we will take the dogs away before the people get back to the house.

0:07:380:07:41

Still to come,

0:07:460:07:49

denials from the dog owner accused of shocking cruelty.

0:07:490:07:52

And a close shave during a wild horse round-up.

0:08:000:08:04

The horse actually pushed the bolt off the gate,

0:08:040:08:07

the latch right of the post here.

0:08:070:08:09

Slightly hairy moment.

0:08:090:08:11

One of the biggest dangers facing British wildlife is discarded fishing tackle.

0:08:140:08:19

Most anglers behave responsibly, but some leave behind litter

0:08:190:08:24

like hooks, weights and line and these can be deadly.

0:08:240:08:28

At Crown Lakes park in Peterborough the RSPCA have just heard

0:08:280:08:32

about a young cygnet whose life is in danger.

0:08:320:08:36

On this fishing lake a cygnet has become tangled in wire.

0:08:440:08:48

It's caught on a tree and can't swim away.

0:08:480:08:51

And its family is refusing to leave its side.

0:08:550:08:58

Somewhere around here, hopefully.

0:08:580:09:01

RSPCA officer Justin Stubbs has arrived to help.

0:09:010:09:06

The mum with the other babies, the other six babies is swimming around.

0:09:060:09:09

They're all quite happy. Dad's just here guarding

0:09:090:09:11

the other little one which, having just seen it now,

0:09:110:09:13

it's clearly trying to swim and it's not getting anywhere.

0:09:130:09:16

Look, it's struggling to get away.

0:09:160:09:18

Sadly this is a common problem. More than 7,000 birds every year

0:09:180:09:24

die or are injured as a result of fishing tackle being carelessly thrown away.

0:09:240:09:30

It's a daily occurrence. There's always birds tangled up in fishing line and...

0:09:310:09:36

That's just the perfect example of why we really, really are desperate for people to dispose of it properly.

0:09:360:09:41

When the victim is as young as this little bird, the chances

0:09:410:09:45

of survival are slim. Justin, however, is determined to try and save it.

0:09:450:09:50

755 to E2, is anybody around Peterborough to help us out with a rescue, over?

0:09:500:09:54

But the bond between a cygnet and its parents could stop him.

0:09:540:09:58

As soon as I go near it, Mum or Dad,

0:09:580:10:02

who are incredibly protective and aggressive, are going to beat me.

0:10:020:10:05

It's not going to do the cygnet any good, it's going to make rescuing it even more difficult,

0:10:050:10:09

so I've just called for somebody to come and give us a hand.

0:10:090:10:11

After several minutes, Justin's colleague Cathy Hornig arrives.

0:10:110:10:16

There's no dignified way of getting this on.

0:10:160:10:19

With Dad out of the way, Justin needs to make his move.

0:10:190:10:24

He carefully wades over towards the struggling cygnet.

0:10:240:10:29

-Wait there, Cathy.

-Yeah.

0:10:310:10:34

And soon realises the full extent of the problem.

0:10:340:10:37

He's swallowed it and it's around his legs as well.

0:10:370:10:40

The baby swan is out of the water, but not out of danger.

0:10:460:10:50

-Justin's unable to remove the fishing line...

-That's jammed in.

0:10:500:10:54

..and the big fear is that there's a hook on the end of it.

0:10:540:10:57

If it's slides out very, very easily then great, it's not got down far, but...

0:10:570:11:01

The slightest little bit of resistance you don't risk it, so...

0:11:010:11:05

-He's not broken that leg.

-No.

0:11:060:11:08

All the fishing line that was around the bramble,

0:11:100:11:13

he's also swallowed part of it as well.

0:11:130:11:15

It may be that he'd swallowed it first and then

0:11:150:11:18

it's trailed behind him and he's got his legs caught in it as well, so...

0:11:180:11:21

If people took away their fishing litter we wouldn't have this problem, and it is upsetting.

0:11:210:11:25

You know, we go to the trouble to try and rescue these animals

0:11:250:11:30

and it is too late, and it is upsetting, especially something as sweet as this.

0:11:300:11:35

It's such a pointless thing, all this litter and fishing line and it's clearly...

0:11:350:11:39

I think he's probably dying on us now, actually.

0:11:390:11:42

-Things aren't looking good for this little bird.

-It's just so sad because it's preventable.

0:11:420:11:47

And on the way back to the van, Justin and Cathy think he may be fading.

0:11:470:11:52

-Gone?

-No, he's just...

0:11:540:11:57

No.

0:11:570:12:00

Come on, baby, come on.

0:12:000:12:02

But this little cygnet is a fighter and he's not giving up yet.

0:12:040:12:09

Every now and then he seems to perk up a little bit. I'm just hoping that he can keep it up.

0:12:090:12:13

Justin rushes the bird to the nearest wildlife hospital.

0:12:130:12:18

I'm pleasantly surprised that it's still alive and if anything quite considerably stronger, I think.

0:12:200:12:25

I really didn't think he was going to make the walk back to the van, let alone the drive.

0:12:250:12:30

Amazingly, the cygnet has made it through the journey to East Winch hospital.

0:12:300:12:35

Now it's time to see whether vet Steve Bexton can do anything to save him.

0:12:350:12:40

One cygnet full of that.

0:12:400:12:43

It was around his leg as well,

0:12:430:12:45

quite high up and tight and he's very floppy.

0:12:450:12:49

We thought he was just going to die on us.

0:12:490:12:51

The fact that such a young bird has survived the ordeal this long is a surprise.

0:12:510:12:57

-Has he had anything?

-No, I just brought him straight in.

-But they need to move quickly.

0:12:570:13:02

With him tangled in it and then tangled around a tree as well since last night.

0:13:020:13:07

The longer the cygnet is away from its parents,

0:13:070:13:10

the less chance it will have

0:13:100:13:12

of being accepted back into the family group.

0:13:120:13:14

Steve immediately takes him in for an X-ray.

0:13:140:13:18

Thankfully, it reveals some good news.

0:13:180:13:22

So, that area there is where the neck is kind of in an S-shape,

0:13:220:13:26

so it's superimposed on itself.

0:13:260:13:28

So you can't actually see that part of the neck very clearly on the X-ray,

0:13:280:13:34

but from the beak to there, there's no hook that's kind of anchoring the line

0:13:340:13:41

so it should, in theory, come out quite easily.

0:13:410:13:45

Steve needs to have a closer look inside the cygnet.

0:13:450:13:49

Before he can do this, it needs warmth and re-hydration to help it survive the anaesthetic.

0:13:490:13:54

In such a young bird there is a risk with the anaesthetic,

0:13:550:13:58

so we want to keep that as brief as we possibly can.

0:13:580:14:01

And then there is a slight risk with the procedure as well

0:14:010:14:05

because we don't know what's on the end of the line.

0:14:050:14:08

We've ruled out a hook from the X-rays, but there may

0:14:080:14:11

be something else on the end of the line, so it's a little bit unknown

0:14:110:14:15

as to what's going to happen.

0:14:150:14:16

Steve can't get the fishing line out.

0:14:190:14:22

Yeah, it's not coming out.

0:14:220:14:25

There's resistance to it about there on the neck,

0:14:250:14:28

so what we'll do is I'll get the endoscope

0:14:280:14:30

and we'll have a quick look and just make sure there's nothing wedged across.

0:14:300:14:34

He feeds the mini camera down the bird's gullet.

0:14:360:14:41

-Yeah, OK.

-There?

-Yeah.

0:14:420:14:44

And it shows there's nothing on the end of the line

0:14:440:14:47

that will cause any harm.

0:14:470:14:48

He decides to cut it off at the mouth

0:14:520:14:54

and hopes the cygnet will be able to digest the rest.

0:14:540:14:58

The stomach of a swan is a sort of grinding muscular organ

0:14:580:15:03

and anything that ends up in there is ground down to virtually nothing

0:15:030:15:09

and then passes through the digestive tract.

0:15:090:15:12

Hopefully if he comes round from the anaesthetic that should be the end of his problems hopefully, now.

0:15:160:15:22

But this is just the worrying time now.

0:15:220:15:24

We have to see that he does wake up and come round OK.

0:15:240:15:29

Coming up, concern grows for the poorly cygnet.

0:15:350:15:39

He was out for a little bit longer than we would have liked

0:15:390:15:42

for this sort of procedure with him being so small and so young.

0:15:420:15:45

And an uncertain future for Midge and Bouncer.

0:15:450:15:50

They've had quite a traumatic experience because they...

0:15:500:15:53

They saw the other dog while it was hanging.

0:15:530:15:56

This is the north Kent coast and these desirable residences behind me

0:16:050:16:09

have a view out over the Thames estuary,

0:16:090:16:11

and along here, we have a strip known as the South Swale Nature Reserve

0:16:110:16:15

and it's home to some really great species, like marsh harriers and little terns.

0:16:150:16:20

But it takes a lot of work to keep it this way.

0:16:200:16:23

Humans do their bit, but they also employ another tireless guardian of the environment, konik horses.

0:16:230:16:31

The konik horse is the last descendant of the tarpan,

0:16:360:16:39

an extinct European horse which used to roam free all over the continent.

0:16:390:16:44

The breed is native to Poland and was first brought to Kent by the Wildwood Trust in 2002.

0:16:450:16:51

Tell me a bit more about the koniks, Peter.

0:16:550:16:57

Well, the Konik is a...wild horse.

0:16:570:16:59

-Now, you can see on their legs, you see the stripes...

-Yes, yes.

0:16:590:17:02

That is what the tarpan looked like.

0:17:020:17:05

It was like a brown zebra pattern

0:17:050:17:08

and that's some of the relic genes that are still in there

0:17:080:17:11

where you can see that camouflage pattern, so these horses have got

0:17:110:17:14

the last genes of the tarpan and they can live just like wild animals.

0:17:140:17:19

But you like them because of the way they graze. Now, we can see them eating behind us.

0:17:190:17:23

What are they doing that's so special and good for the wildlife?

0:17:230:17:27

Well, if we left this and didn't do anything it would scrub up.

0:17:270:17:30

You'd get scrub coming in and the reed beds and the dykes would start

0:17:300:17:33

drying out and they would start losing their biological diversity,

0:17:330:17:37

and it's the dynamic process of these

0:17:370:17:39

munching away keeping it all open

0:17:390:17:41

that keeps the rare wildlife all in there together.

0:17:410:17:44

But the herd here has now become too big.

0:17:440:17:47

Today I'm taking on the role of cowboy to help Peter and his team separate some of the males.

0:17:470:17:54

What exactly are you trying to achieve by moving them around?

0:17:540:17:57

Right, at the moment we need to, if we can, separate the horses we're going to take.

0:17:570:18:02

If we can do it here before we drive them all the way down

0:18:020:18:05

to the corral system we've got it'll be a lot easier.

0:18:050:18:07

But these are colts and they're starting to get to an age

0:18:070:18:10

where they're challenging their father for dominance of the herd,

0:18:100:18:13

for the stallion, so they need to be brought off the system.

0:18:130:18:15

We've got another beautiful nature reserve for them to go on and live.

0:18:150:18:18

So these colts are like the teenage horses and they're getting a bit aggressive?

0:18:180:18:21

-They're getting a bit argy bargy. That's right. We need to go and follow these guys now.

-OK.

0:18:210:18:25

-And we'll do some real horse herding.

-Real wrangling. OK.

0:18:250:18:29

Before the koniks can be split up, all the horses must be herded into special pens.

0:18:330:18:38

We've let them through the gate. Do you want me to close the gate behind them?

0:18:380:18:41

Like our native Dartmoor and Exmoor breeds, these are wild animals and unused to human handling.

0:18:440:18:51

The team eventually corral them into a small pen.

0:18:550:18:59

We've chased the horses all through the reserve

0:18:590:19:03

and they're corralled up here and now we're going to have to separate the ones we want, which is the hard bit.

0:19:030:19:08

This is a dangerous job. A kick from any of them could prove fatal.

0:19:080:19:12

Before we get in there, what are the things you've got to be careful about with these horses?

0:19:140:19:18

Well, with horses, the biggest problem if a horse turns to kick you, which is behaviour that can happen,

0:19:180:19:24

and that's when it can kill you, so... That's a shot to the head can kill you stone dead, so be careful.

0:19:240:19:30

-So, watch the rear end, basically.

-That's right.

0:19:300:19:32

And don't be scared of pushing your hand on to the rear end

0:19:320:19:35

or moving yourself very quickly away.

0:19:350:19:37

Separating the two males means we have to single them out and drive them into a narrow pen.

0:19:400:19:45

Only then are the others allowed back out into the fields.

0:19:470:19:51

Now we can concentrate on getting these two into a horse box.

0:19:510:19:55

Things are going according to plan...

0:19:560:19:59

-That's it.

-But suddenly the horses panic...

0:20:010:20:04

..pinning two of the team against the fence.

0:20:070:20:10

Come on.

0:20:100:20:13

-That's it.

-Before they're given a second chance

0:20:130:20:15

to change their mind, the team manage to cut off their escape.

0:20:150:20:20

Mind your heads.

0:20:240:20:26

Do you think they've done it? They look quite wild eyed in there,

0:20:290:20:32

but I guess they haven't been in a horse box before.

0:20:320:20:35

The two horses are now driven a few miles away to be set free in their new home.

0:20:440:20:49

But first they need to be castrated to stop them fighting

0:20:530:20:56

and becoming a danger to any passers-by.

0:20:560:20:58

Now I've got to make sure they don't get out again.

0:20:580:21:02

Vet Jeremy Phillip is the man

0:21:050:21:07

who's got the tough task of relieving them of their manhood.

0:21:070:21:11

Jeremy, you've got some pretty scary-looking tools down there.

0:21:110:21:13

Tell me a little bit what the plan is, the plan of attack.

0:21:130:21:17

The plan of attack. The first thing is to try and put two darts into its bottom.

0:21:170:21:22

These... Watching these horses here, they look very benign, don't they?

0:21:220:21:26

-Yeah.

-Very relaxed. And as a breed they are, they're quite malleable to being pushed and herded.

0:21:260:21:32

However, getting needles in them is another matter because the needle goes in,

0:21:320:21:38

-the horse jumps around, OK?

-Come at me with a needle and I'll soon back off too.

0:21:380:21:41

-You'll soon be out of the way, OK, particularly if you know what's coming next.

-Indeed.

0:21:410:21:45

With his preparations complete, Jeremy takes aim.

0:21:450:21:50

Well, at this range it wasn't the toughest shot in the world,

0:21:550:21:59

but he got it cleanly in the rump there.

0:21:590:22:01

'The tranquillisers work quickly,

0:22:010:22:04

'but then the first horse makes a powerful escape attempt.

0:22:040:22:09

'It takes all of us to keep him under control.'

0:22:090:22:13

Let him through?

0:22:130:22:14

OK, one, two, three.

0:22:140:22:16

The horse actually pushed the bolt right off the gate,

0:22:220:22:26

the latch right off the post here. Slightly hairy moment.

0:22:260:22:29

Safely knocked out, Jeremy and his team can get to work.

0:22:330:22:37

Right, ready? One, two, three.

0:22:370:22:39

It's an operation which, for one or two reasons,

0:22:430:22:46

I find a bit painful to watch.

0:22:460:22:47

I'm actually quite glad I can't see the detail, it's hidden behind the leg.

0:22:490:22:53

Even the sight of those big pliers was bad enough.

0:22:530:22:55

'The operation is over.

0:22:560:22:58

'Now the team clean him up and make sure the wound is well dressed.'

0:22:580:23:02

They're just putting the injection in now to bring the horse round.

0:23:020:23:06

Now, it's quite important that we get out

0:23:060:23:08

because they can be as lively when they wake up and unpredictable

0:23:080:23:11

as when they were going down in the first place.

0:23:110:23:13

It's a tense time as we wait for the horse to come round.

0:23:150:23:19

With the first patient now back on his feet,

0:23:240:23:28

Jeremy moves on to number two.

0:23:280:23:29

Well, the second horse has gone down, rather easier than the first.

0:23:330:23:37

How do you feel today's gone overall?

0:23:370:23:39

I think it's been pretty successful.

0:23:390:23:40

We've managed to get the horses here without any major problems.

0:23:400:23:43

It's all worked well,

0:23:430:23:44

we've had some great people to help us, so, pretty happy.

0:23:440:23:47

So, what effect are you hoping the horses will have on this meadow here?

0:23:470:23:51

Well, the horses can breathe life back into this place.

0:23:510:23:54

They're munching the grassland, taking away some of the scrub.

0:23:540:23:57

It can give lots of varieties of habitat for rare animals.

0:23:570:23:59

So, with the help of these horses, this place could become really hotching with wildlife.

0:23:590:24:03

Absolutely. There's a range of birds, insects,

0:24:030:24:06

some grass snakes, some adders, all kinds of things can come back,

0:24:060:24:09

reptiles, frogs, all that.

0:24:090:24:11

The konik is in many ways the ultimate green machine,

0:24:110:24:15

an environmentally-sensitive way of restoring threatened landscapes.

0:24:150:24:20

And the success of the herd here in Kent means we could soon be seeing

0:24:200:24:24

a lot more of these magnificent creatures in the future.

0:24:240:24:27

Later, will Justin's cygnet be welcomed home?

0:24:330:24:37

I'm going to keep an eye on him and make sure that they don't attack him.

0:24:370:24:40

If they do attack him, they could well kill him.

0:24:400:24:43

In West Yorkshire, RSPCA inspector Sarah Keith is

0:24:460:24:50

investigating the case of a dog found hanging from a tree.

0:24:500:24:54

It's a crime both she and the police are determined to punish.

0:24:540:24:58

A man and a woman have been arrested,

0:24:580:25:00

but the case is far from closed.

0:25:000:25:02

There are two other dogs at the property

0:25:020:25:04

and Sarah wants to take them away,

0:25:040:25:07

but first she needs to speak to those responsible.

0:25:070:25:10

RSPCA inspector Sarah Keith begins

0:25:160:25:19

the recorded interview with the dead dog's owners.

0:25:190:25:22

It's an unbelievably frank admission, but it's not the last.

0:25:400:25:45

As well as suffering during the hanging, the RSPCA believes

0:26:460:26:50

the dog was in pain and suffered for some time before the incident.

0:26:500:26:54

The owners are charged with causing unnecessary suffering

0:26:540:26:58

and will be taken to court, but for Sarah the priority now

0:26:580:27:01

is the other animals left at the property.

0:27:010:27:04

A few hours later, Sarah returns to the house and wastes no time.

0:27:060:27:10

She seizes Midge and Bouncer.

0:27:100:27:12

Good dogs. Good boys. Jump up.

0:27:120:27:16

Good boy. And you.

0:27:160:27:18

She's worried they'll be distressed from witnessing

0:27:180:27:21

the other dog's harrowing death.

0:27:210:27:24

She's keen to get them checked over straight away.

0:27:240:27:27

At the Hull Animal Home, Marie Bedford is waiting to see them.

0:27:290:27:35

What treatment have they been given?

0:27:350:27:37

They haven't had anything.

0:27:370:27:39

The owners have never taken them to a vet's,

0:27:390:27:41

so they've never been vaccinated, they've not been neutered.

0:27:410:27:45

And they've not been...no.

0:27:450:27:47

So, everything, the full work up.

0:27:470:27:49

First up is Midge, a three-year-old Labrador cross.

0:27:490:27:54

We'll just give him a health check, hopefully with no problems.

0:27:540:28:00

Check just for any lumps, scars or anything. Good boy.

0:28:020:28:07

I'm going to give him a kennel cough now.

0:28:080:28:11

They don't really like this, because it's up their nose.

0:28:110:28:12

-The strong bond between the two dogs is clear.

-Good lad.

0:28:120:28:18

As Midge is treated, his friend stays close.

0:28:180:28:21

Good boy.

0:28:210:28:22

Next it's Bouncer's turn, who's slightly underweight.

0:28:220:28:26

-What food have they been on?

-They've been on a dry food,

0:28:260:28:29

but I don't think it was a high quality one.

0:28:290:28:31

We feed dry food, so now we know the weights,

0:28:310:28:33

we can regulate how much they're getting fed.

0:28:330:28:36

We'll give them a little bit more

0:28:360:28:37

-because they're a tiny little bit lean, so...

-Lovely stuff.

0:28:370:28:40

We'll sort them out, feed them up.

0:28:400:28:42

Do you want to get a room bedded down and pop them in together?

0:28:420:28:44

Yeah, they need to be in together.

0:28:440:28:46

They'll scream the place down if they're separated.

0:28:460:28:48

They're very attached.

0:28:480:28:50

Midge and Bouncer have been through a lot in the last 24 hours

0:28:510:28:55

and kennels can be a disturbing place for any dog.

0:28:550:28:58

Oh, look at this, boys!

0:28:580:29:00

Come on, then, on in here. Come on.

0:29:000:29:02

But at least they've got each other.

0:29:020:29:04

They've had quite a traumatic experience,

0:29:040:29:06

because they saw the other dog

0:29:060:29:08

while it was hanging and they knew something was going on.

0:29:080:29:11

They were quiet unsettled while they were at the property and it's nice

0:29:110:29:15

to see the difference in them coming here and just settling in

0:29:150:29:18

and just being quite easy about their environment,

0:29:180:29:21

so I'm quite happy that they're...

0:29:210:29:23

Seeing them happy and behaving the way they are.

0:29:230:29:26

You've got to stay there, lovey.

0:29:260:29:29

The good news is that both dogs appear healthy,

0:29:290:29:31

-but their future is far from certain.

-Good boys.

0:29:310:29:35

Bouncer and Midge can't be re-homed until the court case is over,

0:29:350:29:40

and this will take time.

0:29:400:29:42

Eight months later, and after a long and complicated investigation,

0:29:470:29:51

the case finally comes to court.

0:29:510:29:53

The owners arrive at the hearing to answer charges of animal cruelty.

0:29:540:30:00

I'm just about to go in regarding a dog that was found

0:30:030:30:06

hanging in a back garden,

0:30:060:30:08

so I'm just about to go in and see if they first of all

0:30:080:30:11

plead not guilty or guilty, and then see what happens after that,

0:30:110:30:15

what the magistrates decide,

0:30:150:30:17

but hopefully in this case justice will be done.

0:30:170:30:19

Still to come, waiting for a verdict,

0:30:260:30:30

the two dogs desperate for freedom.

0:30:300:30:33

It's so frustrating seeing them in kennels when they don't really need

0:30:330:30:37

to be here, they need to be in a loving home with family.

0:30:370:30:39

Now back to the story of the cygnet that swallowed some fishing wire.

0:30:430:30:47

When RSPCA officer Justin Stubbs first rescued the bird,

0:30:470:30:51

it was extremely weak and he was worried it wouldn't pull through,

0:30:510:30:55

but the bird has shocked everyone, surviving not only a long journey

0:30:550:30:59

to the vet's, but also some uncomfortable surgery.

0:30:590:31:02

Now, will it come round from the anaesthetic?

0:31:020:31:06

This little cygnet is without doubt a fighter.

0:31:110:31:14

This is obviously the worrying time now, just making sure

0:31:140:31:17

that he does wake up from the anaesthetic.

0:31:170:31:20

But vet Steve Bexton is concerned that

0:31:210:31:23

it may just be too fragile to survive.

0:31:230:31:27

He was out for a little bit longer than we would have liked

0:31:270:31:30

for this procedure, with him being so small and so young.

0:31:300:31:33

-Finally, though...

-He's back with us.

0:31:350:31:38

..after several minutes, the cygnet starts to show signs of life.

0:31:380:31:41

Once he's fully awake from the anaesthetic,

0:31:410:31:44

we'll see if he'll eat, we'll give him some food.

0:31:440:31:46

He may not have eaten for a while because he's had this fishing line stuck down there.

0:31:460:31:50

If he can eat and we're happy with him, then he should be all right to go back tomorrow.

0:31:500:31:55

Now, after a traumatic day...

0:31:550:31:58

..this bird wants warmth, rest, and then he needs his family.

0:32:000:32:05

It's the next morning, and RSPCA officer Justin Stubbs

0:32:110:32:16

returns to the wildlife hospital.

0:32:160:32:19

He's keen to see if the cygnet has survived the night.

0:32:190:32:23

Being such a young bird,

0:32:230:32:24

Justin had feared that he might die when he rescued him yesterday.

0:32:240:32:28

-Oh, look at that!

-But the cygnet is alive, and even making some friends.

0:32:280:32:35

Doing really well.

0:32:350:32:37

He's eaten overnight, as you can see. Really bright.

0:32:370:32:40

Has recovered well from his anaesthetic that he had yesterday,

0:32:400:32:44

and we're happy for him to go back with his family,

0:32:440:32:47

because he's probably got a better chance of survival with them,

0:32:470:32:51

and obviously with his other siblings as well,

0:32:510:32:53

he can learn how to be a swan.

0:32:530:32:55

Yes, so, he's fought against all the odds and made it.

0:32:550:32:58

I'm absolutely over the moon.

0:32:580:32:59

12 years of doing this and I still get over the moon

0:32:590:33:01

over the odd case, it's brilliant.

0:33:010:33:03

But now there's a new concern, getting him back to his family.

0:33:060:33:09

After 24 hours away, there's a real worry that his parents might pick up

0:33:110:33:15

human scent and refuse to take the cygnet back.

0:33:150:33:19

So I'm just going to keep an eye on him, make sure that they don't attack him.

0:33:190:33:21

If they do attack him, they could well kill him.

0:33:210:33:24

Justin soon finds Dad,

0:33:260:33:27

who seems to be persevering in a one-swan search party.

0:33:270:33:32

If Dad rejects him, the cygnet will have to go back to the rescue centre

0:33:330:33:37

until he's old enough to be released.

0:33:370:33:40

That's the last thing Justin wants to happen.

0:33:400:33:43

That's a good sound.

0:33:510:33:52

The cygnet seems eager to get away,

0:33:540:33:57

and the aggression towards Justin is also a good sign.

0:33:570:34:01

After a few moments weighing each other up,

0:34:110:34:14

father and son are back together.

0:34:140:34:17

Absolutely perfect. Just the noises, the deep rumble

0:34:200:34:25

is kind of a greeting sound that they use.

0:34:250:34:28

He's almost kind of willing it, "Come on, come on." So I think...

0:34:280:34:33

I don't think that could have gone much better,

0:34:330:34:35

other than Mum and the rest of the babies being here.

0:34:350:34:38

Dad's now keeping himself between us and it,

0:34:380:34:41

protecting it. He's the luckiest cygnet I've ever come across.

0:34:410:34:45

He survived the tangling, he survived probably a night of it.

0:34:450:34:48

Any predators that were about, he survived being caught, cut free,

0:34:480:34:52

the walk, the drive, the anaesthetic,

0:34:520:34:54

the hot drive as well on the way back.

0:34:540:34:56

He survived absolutely everything,

0:34:560:34:58

so, yeah, he's a really lucky little fella.

0:34:580:35:00

And soon, the cygnet's an even luckier little fella,

0:35:010:35:05

as he's reunited with the whole family.

0:35:050:35:08

OK, so you've got two, four, six, and ours makes seven.

0:35:090:35:14

Everyone's back together. Nobody's bothered about him being there.

0:35:150:35:19

They're all accepting him perfectly well. Perfect.

0:35:190:35:22

Brilliant.

0:35:220:35:23

Accidents do happen with fishermen.

0:35:290:35:31

You can accidentally hook a low-lying branch, I appreciate that.

0:35:310:35:35

Just a little bit more care.

0:35:360:35:38

You don't need to cast so far out to underneath those branches.

0:35:380:35:42

You don't need to leave your litter about. You don't need to leave

0:35:420:35:46

your four pack of beer

0:35:460:35:47

so that something can get stuck in all the ring-pull parts.

0:35:470:35:50

Justin may still be angry about the irresponsible fisherman,

0:35:510:35:56

but for him, this is the best part of the job.

0:35:560:35:59

I'm absolutely over the moon with this one.

0:35:590:36:01

It's not often you get rescues where you do get

0:36:010:36:04

so emotionally caught up with it, and I don't think anybody that was there

0:36:040:36:09

yesterday could have helped but be like that.

0:36:090:36:12

So, to wake up today and find out that he's made such a great recovery

0:36:120:36:15

and be told to come back and get him

0:36:150:36:16

because he's going to be kicked back out with Mum and Dad,

0:36:160:36:19

it gives you a real boost.

0:36:190:36:21

I'll be able to do my job for weeks on this.

0:36:210:36:24

It really keeps you going, so...

0:36:240:36:26

Yeah, over the moon.

0:36:260:36:28

Finally, we're back in West Yorkshire with Inspector Sarah Keith

0:36:340:36:39

and the case of the dog found hanging from a tree.

0:36:390:36:42

In recorded interviews, the owners confessed to killing the dog

0:36:420:36:46

because he was crippled with arthritis.

0:36:460:36:48

They said they thought this would put him out of his misery.

0:36:480:36:52

The RSPCA believes the dog suffered before and during the hanging,

0:36:520:36:56

and is taking the owners to court,

0:36:560:36:59

but it's a long process, and all the time the other dogs

0:36:590:37:02

found in the property are waiting at kennels.

0:37:020:37:05

Pontefract Magistrates' Court,

0:37:100:37:12

and Inspector Sarah Keith is hoping today's case will mark

0:37:120:37:16

the end of what's become a long and complicated investigation.

0:37:160:37:21

She's hoping the owners will plead guilty to causing unnecessary

0:37:210:37:25

suffering, meaning the other two dogs can finally he re-homed.

0:37:250:37:29

But after a short hearing,

0:37:290:37:31

Sarah leaves court without the outcome she was hoping for.

0:37:310:37:35

It's been adjourned until the middle of March, which is about five weeks

0:37:350:37:40

away now, which is a little bit frustrating.

0:37:400:37:43

It's basically due to paperwork, I'm told.

0:37:430:37:46

And an issue with legal aid.

0:37:460:37:48

It's just frustrating from our point of view,

0:37:480:37:50

because we've still got a couple of dogs in boarding

0:37:500:37:53

that are in kennels that are waiting a decision, basically.

0:37:530:37:56

It's looking like it might go to trial, so we'll just have to wait and see.

0:37:560:38:00

So, for the other dogs, the wait to find a new home goes on.

0:38:020:38:06

Bouncer and Midge are the innocent victims

0:38:060:38:08

of this lengthy legal process.

0:38:080:38:10

They've been staying at the RSPCA kennels for eight months now.

0:38:130:38:17

Rescue worker Karina Port is doing her best to keep their spirits up.

0:38:170:38:21

It's so frustrating, seeing them in kennels

0:38:210:38:24

when they don't really need to be here.

0:38:240:38:26

They need to be in a loving home with family

0:38:260:38:28

and having a great time, exercise on the beach and things like that.

0:38:280:38:33

The bond between both dogs is as strong as ever.

0:38:330:38:36

Out in the paddock,

0:38:380:38:39

they show they're quite happy to keep each other entertained.

0:38:390:38:43

You'll find them playing like this, and Midge normally

0:38:430:38:45

chases after Bouncer first,

0:38:450:38:47

and then they'll run around a bit more for about ten minutes, and then

0:38:470:38:50

the role reverses, Bouncer normally gets on Midge when he's a bit tired.

0:38:500:38:54

Midge, Bouncer!

0:38:540:38:56

Midge and Bouncer may be making the most of their time here,

0:38:590:39:02

but what they really need is a loving home.

0:39:020:39:04

Come on, lads, let's put you back, good boys.

0:39:040:39:07

And that can't happen until the case

0:39:070:39:09

against their previous owners is over.

0:39:090:39:12

Five weeks later, the owners are back in court.

0:39:170:39:20

This time, there's a result. They admit causing unnecessary suffering.

0:39:200:39:26

Sarah was in court as the sentences were handed down.

0:39:260:39:29

They've both received community orders

0:39:290:39:32

for 12 months under supervision.

0:39:320:39:34

They've both been ordered to pay £1,200 costs each towards the case,

0:39:340:39:39

and they've been banned for all animals for ten years.

0:39:390:39:43

They've also...

0:39:430:39:44

-Mr

-BLEEP

-has been given 100 hours' community service, unpaid work,

0:39:440:39:48

-and Mrs

-BLEEP

-has been given 80 hours.

0:39:480:39:50

The offence of causing unnecessary suffering is a serious one,

0:39:500:39:55

but the fact that the dog was hanged

0:39:550:39:57

in itself is... On its own, even it hadn't suffered prior,

0:39:570:40:01

which we know it did,

0:40:010:40:03

it choked to death, so, all in all, a good result

0:40:030:40:05

for animal welfare today.

0:40:050:40:07

Go on, Midge, good boy, good boy. Good boy, good boy.

0:40:100:40:13

With the court case over, a few weeks later Bouncer and Midge

0:40:130:40:17

-are finally given the happy ending they deserve.

-Come on then, Midge.

0:40:170:40:21

A few miles away from the rescue centre,

0:40:210:40:23

a family from Hull have given both dogs a fresh start.

0:40:230:40:27

We've always had dogs.

0:40:270:40:28

We had a Labrador for 16 years, and unfortunately she died,

0:40:290:40:33

so we felt a big hole was missing out of our lives,

0:40:330:40:37

so we went to the RSPCA, and luckily we found these two.

0:40:370:40:40

They've been here two months now,

0:40:400:40:43

and are settling in fantastically, really well.

0:40:430:40:47

Beautiful dogs.

0:40:470:40:49

And they get their walks in the morning.

0:40:490:40:52

Half past five, Susan's up every morning,

0:40:520:40:54

taking them for a walk in the local park.

0:40:540:40:55

And then in the evening we all go for a walk together,

0:40:550:40:58

either onto the beach or into the park.

0:40:580:41:01

Really enjoying life with them,

0:41:010:41:02

and, hopefully, they're enjoying life with us as well.

0:41:020:41:05

They follow each other round,

0:41:050:41:06

they love playing together and play fighting together.

0:41:060:41:09

You can't separate them, literally can't separate them.

0:41:100:41:14

For Bouncer and Midge, the past 12 months has been a test

0:41:150:41:19

of both their character and friendship.

0:41:190:41:22

Come on, then. Come on.

0:41:220:41:24

But they pulled through together and

0:41:240:41:27

-with the help of their new family, their future is now secure.

-Fetch!

0:41:270:41:32

Come on, then. Midge, Midge.

0:41:340:41:37

If you think you know of a case of wildlife crime or an animal

0:41:430:41:47

that needs immediate protection,

0:41:470:41:50

remember there are people out there

0:41:500:41:51

who will answer your call right around the clock.

0:41:510:41:54

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

0:41:540:41:57

Next time on Animal 24:7...

0:41:590:42:02

I don't like being pushed about, me.

0:42:020:42:04

No-one's pushing you about, are they?

0:42:040:42:06

Tensions run high on a Leeds housing estate.

0:42:060:42:08

Why don't you leave people alone?

0:42:080:42:10

I can't leave you alone until you get your situation sorted.

0:42:100:42:14

Investigations into the illegal trapping of wild birds.

0:42:140:42:17

The net is very fine. The animals won't see this

0:42:170:42:20

as they come through the gaps in the hedgerows,

0:42:200:42:22

and I would suggest for the sole purpose of catching finches.

0:42:220:42:25

-And, a security breach.

-Drive him towards me, I'm over here.

0:42:250:42:30

The troops are called in to catch an unlikely infiltrator. There he is.

0:42:300:42:35

It turns out it was us that was outflanked, not the deer.

0:42:350:42:37

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:42:490:42:52

E-mail [email protected]

0:42:520:42:55

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

The RSPCA investigates a shocking case of animal cruelty - the hanging of a dog; a baby cygnet fights to survive; and presenter Tom Heap helps round up a herd of wild horses.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS