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Special homes needed for rare rescue dogs

Nine rare Sloughis are currently looking for homes after their owners were prosecuted for cruelty

Nine Sloughi dogs are currently looking for new homes after their owners were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering and banned from keeping animals for life.

Sloughis, who are also known as Arabian Whippets or Egyptian Greyhounds, are believed to be descended from hunting dogs kept by the Pharaohs.

The nine Sloughis were among 23 dogs found living in squalor under the care of Rodney Reed and Susan Harper of Paulton, near Bath.

The dogs were discovered by RSPCA inspector Glyn Roberts living in a barn at Ashells Batch, Greendown, Chewton Mendip in Somerset in November 2001.

Ten Sloughis were found living in semi-darkness in a loosebox. The floor was 1ft deep in semi-liquid faeces and there was no dry area to lie down. Two more Sloughis were being kept in a chicken shed, and the last was found in a car travelling cage filled with faeces.

Ten other small dogs were locked in cramped cages, standing on compacted newspaper bedding and faeces.

None of the dogs had any food or water and there were rats running around the rubbish-strewn area.

Some of the dogs were thin, others had matted fur, skin and ear infections and problems with their teeth. Vet Stephen Tofts estimated the dogs had been living in squalor for several months.

Reed and Harper were each sentenced to 240 hours community service and banned from keeping all animals for life after they pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to 23 dogs.

Wells magistrates also ordered the couple to each pay £500 costs to the RSPCA.

Nine of the Sloughis were very nervous so a dog behaviourist was called in. Staff at the West Hatch Centre, near Taunton, where the animals are being cared for, have implemented a careful programme of rehabilitation to win the confidence of the animals.

Centre manager Sally Neale said: “It has been a slow process gaining the trust of these dogs and we had a tough job on our hands.”

“When they first came to us they were so scared that they wouldn’t even come out of their kennels. We now believe they should now be living in a home environment and building up a one-to-one relationship with an owner.”

The Sloughis will need a quiet home with no small children or cats, and an owner who is at home all day and is willing to persevere with the training programme. They would also benefit from living with another well-behaved dog that will help them gain confidence.

The tan and cream dogs have been named after film stars and models – Nicole, Demi, Courtney, Claudia, Brooke, Harrison, Willis, Arnie, and Drew.

Anyone wishing to rehome one of the dogs should contact the RSPCA West Hatch Animal Centre (tel: 01823 480156).

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