ANIMAL lovers as far away as America have expressed their disgust after an elderly and blind dog was found dumped in a concrete hole covered over by wooden planks in Derry.
A six-year-old girl raised the alarm after hearing the animal’s cries on wasteground in the Drumahoe area on Sunday night.
Kenny Bideau’s little daughter Cara ran home to tell him she had heard what she thought was a puppy.
Upon investigation, he found the pitiful elderly dog and managed to get her out.
The boxer bitch, which the family have temporarily named Bella, was found to be emaciated, neglected, with worn away teeth. She was also blind in both eyes, and one of her eyes is badly ulcerated.
A subsequent check over also revealed she has been overbred by a puppy farmer.
Mr Bideau kept the dog at his own home overnight and contacted Eglinton animal shelter the Rainbow Rehoming Centre.
Founder of the Rainbow Rehoming Centre and Kenny’s aunt Helen Davies said: “The dog was so exhausted it slept all night on Kenny’s sofa, while his son stayed on the other sofa to keep an eye on her.
“This dog was left to die down that hole and it would have died if little Cara hadn’t gone and told her daddy.
“The dog is just in a really bad way and her teeth are all broken or worn away. Somebody has suggested she might have been chained up and may have been biting at the chain.
“We do not know who put her in the hole but we do have evidence that she was neglected over a long period of time and that she was used exhaustively for breeding.
“It seems whoever did that has made an awful lot of money out of her as boxer pups could be sold for maybe £300. It also bothers me that these people don’t pay any tax on that.
“There is millions of pounds being made in this country every year from such breeders, and they are usually selling pups that are not at all well.
“People don’t see the mother dogs, the state they are in, the conditions they are living in, and that is something that is going on throughout Ireland.”
Ms Davies said that on the flipside however there has been a massive outpouring of sympathy for Bella, who is now in a foster home, as well as widespread anger at what was done to her.
Specialist eye veterinary surgeon Isabel Buehler has offered a free consultation to check the dog’s eyes out to see if there is anything that can be done to help her.
Meanwhile within 24 hours of Bella’s plight being posted on the Rainbow Rehoming Centre’s Facebook page, over 750,000 had read details about the case, with people from as far away as the US and England getting in touch.
Offers of homes have also flooded in.
Ms Davies said: “A lot of people have offered to give this dog a very loving home and we will have to sit down and go through them now.
“There is a lot of positives coming out of this story, and most of all it is positive for this beautiful, gentle dog.”