South Yorkshire RSPCA inspectors reveal horrors of animal cruelty cases

Kerry Grayson, Animal Care Assistant, pictured with Tilly the Cat. Picture: Marie Caley NSST RSPCA MC 11
Kerry Grayson, Animal Care Assistant, pictured with Tilly the Cat. Picture: Marie Caley NSST RSPCA MC 11

A visit to a massage parlour over concerns for the welfare of a dog, checks on two horses feared neglected and a house visit to inspect five tarantulas...it’s all in a day’s work for South Yorkshire’s RSPCA inspectors.

With a team of 12 inspectors responsible for checking on the welfare of animals across South Yorkshire, the animal lovers never know what horrors will unfold from one day to the next.

Jennie Ronksley, RSPCA Inspector, pictured with 10-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier Jodie. Picture: Marie Caley NSST RSPCA MC 2

Jennie Ronksley, RSPCA Inspector, pictured with 10-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier Jodie. Picture: Marie Caley NSST RSPCA MC 2

The Star spent a day shadowing the team, and went along to the massage parlour in Sheffield and to speak to the owner of two dogs in Rotherham after concerns were raised - but none of the pets were deemed to be at risk.

Nothing could have prepared Inspector Jennie Ronksley for what she discovered on a previous visit to a flat in Sheffield following a call advising the RSPCA to check on the dogs in the property.

Peering through the letterbox and overcome by the stench of ammonia and faecal matter, she initially saw a thin Staffordshire bull terrier barking and growling in the hallway and covered in faeces and urine.

When she eventually got into the property she was met with the heartbreaking sight of two emaciated dogs - a Stadffordshire bull terrier and a bull mastiff-cross - curled up together on a filthy blanket and covered in weeping sores.

Kizzy and Bruiser

Kizzy and Bruiser

One of the neglected dogs was tethered to a radiator with a short chain, leaving him unable to reach his water bowl.

Neither had any food.

The weak, starving dogs, barely able to stand and close to death, were removed from the flat and their owner, a 21-year-old man, was eventually prosecuted and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

The two emaciated dogs made a full recovery and were re-homed, but the third had to be put down because of his aggressive nature.

Jennie, who has two retired racing greyhounds and a labrador-cross she adopted from the RSPCA, said: “It was absolutely horrendous, the sight of those two dogs curled up together for warmth, with one of them chained to a radiator, will stay with me forever.

“They were completely emaciated, living among their own faeces and clearly never fed.

“Both had open sores and were in pain.

“I dread to think of how much those poor dogs must have suffered.”

Some are also abandoned animals, including a greyhound, Eddy, who was left tied up outside the animal centre one night over Christmas.

The dog managed to chew through his lead and escape and was found running around on the tram tracks outside the animal centre in Stadium Way.

He has only been waiting for a new home for a month, but one dog - German Shepherd Tarka - has been waiting for her forever home for over two years.

With her previous owner prosecuted, Tarka, described as ‘bright and intelligent’ is wary of new people and ‘has some anxieties due to her past’.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “We are looking for a home where Tarka can be the only dog, she may prefer to be an only pet although she has previously lived with cats.

An adult-only home would suit this lady better and an owner with experience of large breed dogs would be really beneficial.

“Could you offer our wonderful lady a new life?

“She was brought to us with numerous other dogs as part of an investigation into their welfare.

“Tarka has missed out on lots of her early years socialisation.

“She hasn’t really learnt generally how to be a dog and as a result finds normal environments and new people daunting and worrying.

“Her reaction when she is unsure is to shout at the scary things to make them go away.

“With time, patience and training though, she is learning that the world is actually quite a nice place and now loves the staff and volunteers at the centre and is becoming less reactive at the centre.

“It takes time to build up a bond and gain Tarka’s trust, so anyone interested in taking her on must be willing to spend time getting to know her here at the centre prior to adoption.

“The reward of making friends with a dog like Tarka is a prize in itself as she really is the best.”

The animal centre costs £2,000 a day to run, with no Government funding available.

There are seven RSPCA shops across the city, which raise cash for the charity:

* To donate £3 to the national RSPCA charity, which pays for the animal welfare work, text HELP29 to 70099.

* To help the local branch and to find out more about the animals in need of a home call 0114 2898050.