Fifty-two dogs may get a new leash on life after being rescued by the SPCA in Bloemfontein

The animals, most of them deformed, were rescued from horrendous living conditions at a house in Springfontein, the Bloemfontein SPCA said on Friday.

The animal welfare organisation removed a total of 60 dogs from the property last week after responding to an anonymous complaint that its owner gave it sleeping tablets so they could die before contracting the highly contagious parvovirus.

The woman, in her 40s, appeared to not be financially able to cater for the animals’ medical needs and fed the dogs mieliepap instead of proper dog food.

Bloemfontein SPCA inspector Duán Matthee in a statement said the inbreeding among the dogs was so bad that many were deformed. A few had extra toes, while others had misshapen heads.

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Initially, some of the dogs were thought to be already dead.

“It was truly a sad state of affairs. There was dog excrement everywhere. It was so dirty,” Matthee said.

According to him, up to ten dogs of mixed sexes were kept in a single room, resulting in them continuously breeding.

“When I opened the door of a cupboard a dog jumped out. We found another dog trapped inside the base of a bed. Another dog was kept in a small space full of spiderwebs behind a cupboard in a corner of a room.”

Matthee said some of the animals suffered from severe mange and eye infections.

“For us, it was very bad. There were a lot of puppies and with time they started to die one by one due to the parvovirus.”

Eight of the confiscated dogs have died while the 52 survivors were being kept at the Bloemfontein SPCA premises.

A case of animal cruelty will be opened against the dog owner, the organisation confirmed.

It is appealing for donations to assist with the dogs’ medical costs and care. Contact them on 051 447 3801.