Ordeal of St Bernards in rescue horror
Two die at nearby vets and concerns grow for owners’ safety
UP TO 100 St Bernards have been rescued from a kennel in Northants, following a tip off from a concerned member of the public.
The dogs were discovered at the Wardana Kennels belonging to Mary-Ellen Collis, who registered the Wardana affix in the late 1970s and moved to the kennels in 2001. the kennel has achieved incredible success with its breeding, including several Champions and overseas wins. Mrs Collis, 50, was a founding member of the Kennel Club's Accredited Breeder Scheme. The RSPCA believe that Mrs Collis has disappeared and concern is growing about her safety and wherabouts.
A team of 12 officers spent three days removing the animals, which have now been placed in temporarily at kennels in Nottingham and Peterborough where they are undergoing full health checks. The tip off came after a member whose dogs were lodged at the kennels turned up unnanounced to check his dogs.
It has been reported that though there were no staff at the kennels, the dogs appear to have been fed and watered not long before they were discovered, though the kennels were described by one officer as ‘filthy and littered with dogs’ mess and other filth.’
Sadly, two of the dogs were in such poor health that they later died at a nearby vets. Mrs Collis’ website for the kennels says she is a qualified vet and offers customers “one of the finest animal boarding establishments”.
However, RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs said: “There was faeces everywhere and upturned bowls. Something has gone wrong. Because they’re such big dogs you wouldn’t expect to see so many in such conditions. But it looks like we can do something with them.”
Earlier this week the Kennel Club expressed “'deep concern” over the alleged conditions. It said that at the time of an undated inspection, there was “nothing to give cause for concern”.
A spokesman said: 'The Kennel Club is deeply concerned to hear about the alleged conditions that the dogs belonging to Mrs Collis have been found in and the strange circumstances of her apparent disappearance.
‘Mrs Collis was an Accredited Breeder who had previously had an exemplary record. This is an extra-ordinary situation and in light of the fact that that nobody is able to find the breeder in question and that investigations are still ongoing it is difficult for us to comment further on this particular case at this time.
‘However, the Kennel Club can give assurance that wherever a member’s standards are found wanting investigations are launched and the appropriate action is taken.
An RSPCA spokesman said: “We are in the process of removing 98 dogs and an investigation is ongoing.”