Three young dogs are looking for safe and loving new homes after surviving the cruel and violent world of badger baiting.
Bert, Ernie and Popeye were all forced to compete in the blood sport and have been left with scars and serious injuries.
Badger baiting was made illegal in the UK almost 200 years ago and typically involves one badger and one dog fighting till death.
The poor boys are all Patterdale terriers and three of the longest-staying residents at RSPCA’s Llys Nini Animal Centre in Wales.
Centre manager Gary Weeks said: “It’s been so rewarding to see Bert, Ernie and Popeye flourish in our care and start to enjoy themselves again after the terrible injuries they suffered.
“They’re all friendly, sociable dogs who enjoy human company and all of them will make wonderful companions.”
Staff have been caring for the pups since they were rescued by RSPCA inspectors last November.
Despite the cruelty they previously endured, all three dogs have affectionate and loving natures.
“Badger baiting is illegal but sadly it still goes on, causing incredible distress and suffering not only to the badgers but also to the dogs who are used, who often suffer severe injuries that go untreated,” Gary said.
Bert and Ernie, both 19 months old, had multiple scarring to their heads and necks when they arrived.
Bert was the most seriously injured, missing 75% of the skin and tissue from his lower jaw.
He also had a tooth root exposed as well as wounds to his nasal septum and multiple lacerations to his upper lips, cranium and eyes.
Ernie had an unhealed wound on his left ear, a laceration on his chin and bilateral conjunctivitis.
Following an investigation, their owner was prosecuted by the RSPCA and given a suspended prison sentence.
Bert has since responded well to treatment and staff say he is motivated by food and toys.
Ernie is described as highly energetic and intelligent, and hopes to find an owner who will take him on long and interesting walks and has a good understanding of training.
Popeye, who is one month older than the other two, was found wandering along a road by a member of the public with wounds to his eye and lower jaw.
Sadly the injury to Popeye’s eye was so severe that it couldn’t be saved.
He has the most sensitive nature of the three and will need an owner who is willing to invest time and patience in building a bond.
Staff say he adores human company and loves nothing more than giving and receiving a fuss.
All three dogs would prefer to be the only animal in the household and can live with older children.
Potential adopters can visit Llys Nini Animal Centre’s website for more details about Bert, Ernie and Popeye and find out how to adopt them.
Sadly, incidents of suspected badger baiting are typical of some of the jobs dealt with by the RSPCA’s frontline officers, particularly during the summer months.