Last month, 204 Yorkshire terriers were found crammed into a shed in squalid conditions in Sussex. But what happened next? Celia Hammond, founder of the Celia Hammond Animal Trust, explains how her charity is finding new homes for 86 of the dogs.
Every dog that we've taken will find a home. Some will take longer than over, some will take months to overcome their fear. And to be honest, I don't think these dogs have ever been touched; they're like wild dogs. It will take months to get them into a situation where we can get them into a home.
On Easter Sunday we got a call from another charity, Croydon Animal Samaritans, who had been told there was a lady who had had a stroke who was very ill. Could they go down and help? She thought she was going down to feed and clean some of these animals because they'd been in hospital. When she got there and went into the shed, she nearly fainted and realised she needed help.
It took until well into the evening, 10, 11 o'clock maybe to box these dogs up, to get them out of the cages pretty much in the dark with just torches. Some of them I imagine had never been handled so you were very likely to be bitten.
They all went up to our vet at our Lewisham clinic because some of them were really in a really pitiful condition and everybody worked through the night to try to sort them out and the most urgent ones so they would receive veterinary attention as soon as possible.
Well I last saw these dogs a week ago because I work in one of our London clinics and the improvement in the week has just been incredible. The girls work so hard with them and it's made such a difference. They're 100%, 200% better.
They come forward, they want to be stroked, you get the odd little one will just shy and then she remembers that you're quite nice and she'll come back again, so they've just improved beyond recognition and a lot of these are going out to homes next weekend.
I've worked for Celia and for the charity for the past seven years. I work here at the sanctuary full time and I do a lot of rescuing and re-homing work here. I was involved in rescuing the dogs and the cats from the place on Easter Sunday and I've been working with the dogs on a day-to-day basis since they've come here.
A normal day consists of obviously getting them all up and giving them all breakfast and generally cleaning up from the night before. Obviously they're not house trained or what have you, so it's quite hard work at the moment but they're coming on in leaps and bounds and yes so it's a constant round of cleaning and feeding and playing and cleaning and feeding and playing.
It's been fantastically rewarding working with this group of dogs. Obviously seeing them come in, just being petrified lying on the floor and within a few days starting to wag their tails and kind of recognise you when you come in has been really, really rewarding.
They've all got names and we know them all individually now. We know who's naughty and who gets picked on and things like that. We've got to keep them separate sometimes when we're not around to keep an eye on them and we've been teaching them to play games and play with toys and squeaks and trying to teach them to take a biscuit from your hand - something as simple as that they're not used to doing.
We started to home some puppies and a few of the easiest dogs over last weekend because they really did come on so well and they've gone to people who are very experienced and have had rescue dogs before so they know what they're letting themselves in for.