Dogs saved from ‘death row’

It is the Tayside rescue service that saves dogs from “death row”.

Perthshire Gundog Rescue, at St Madoes, has been running for five years and often steps in when other agencies have given up hope of rehabilitating “working” dogs.

Owner Carol Begg told the Tele that they have saved the lives of hundreds of dogs from Dundee, Perthshire and Angus who were on the brink of being put down.

She is currently raising £100,000 that would enable them to buy a partner’s share of the property via an online funding page.

The 49-year-old said: “We save dogs from being put to sleep — we save the dogs that are on death row.

“Recently, we took a dog from the Scottish SPCA, who was 24 hours away from being put to sleep.

“We get phoned by them, vets and owners asking us if we can take the animals on. We are saving dogs’ lives. We work with them and find them a suitable home — if we can’t find them a home, then we keep them.

“We had one dog who had killed six sheep and he was going to be put to sleep.

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“He was referred to us and we successfully rehabilitated him and managed to find him a new home and there haven’t been any more issues with him.

“We’ve had many examples of dogs that maybe didn’t respond well to children or have bitten people.

“We have managed to get them back into the home, or find them a new home that is suitable for them.

“We have been very successful in rehabilitating dogs and getting them back into the community without any relapses.”

Carol said that they have seen two cruelty cases in the time that they have been open but that the majority of the dogs in her care have lashed out because of possession aggression — this is when dogs react aggressively when their space is encroached upon.

She added: “The thing is, with gundog breeds, they have been bred to work.

“Some people don’t know what they are getting into when they buy a pup at eight weeks old.

“We deal with dogs that have major issues and we will help them before they give them up.

“We try to help people keep their dogs.

“We provide training and support to owners and the dogs and try to give the owners a better understanding of how to deal with these dogs so that issues don’t arise.”

Carol said that she has built up a working relationship with Police Scotland, who have recruited dogs from the centre.

Two former problem pooches are now police dogs in the Tayside area, with three more being trained to enter the force.

She has also started working with people who have disabilities.

She added: “We have a 20-year-old autistic man working with us just now and he is brilliant. He has a real understanding for the dogs and it is working wonders with him.

“We want to do much more of that because we have seen how much it can do for people and the dogs.”

The service’s future has been put in jeopardy after a business partner withdrew support, leaving them £100,000 in the red.

Carol has been forced to begin fundraising to save the rescue service from closure.

She added: “I wont go down without a fight. The dogs and the owners need this.

“We will fight as long as we can to save this because it is the dogs’ lives that are on the line.”

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