February 18, 2022 6.00 pm

Save the Wragby dogs: Community protest alleges mistreatment of dogs ‘living in squalor’

“Something needs to be done before someone or one of the dogs gets seriously hurt”

Around 20 local residents braved Storm Eunice to hold a peaceful protest outside the home of a woman accused of neglecting a number of dogs, with neighbours saying she should not be allowed to keep the animals.

The local community in Wragby have been vocal about the living conditions of numerous dogs at an address on Queen Elizabeth Street, saying issues date back as far as 2019.

The protest was organised by Erica-Jade Fox, and saw a number of neighbours and residents in the area join in to call for action from the authorities.

Protestors say that what started as three border collies has now grown into nine dogs at the property, though some are not always there — with unsubstantiated allegations that the owner is a breeder who profits off selling the animals all around the country.

Erica told The Lincolnite that despite countless reports to the RSPCA and police, nothing has ever been done despite the various eyewitness reports of neighbours who have seen what they deem to be mistreatment in recent times.

Pictures of the kennels inside. | Photo: Erica-Jade Fox

Erica-Jade said: “This has been going on since 2019 and only got worse as time has gone on. The kennels are disgusting, the garden is a mess, we’ve seen the owner disappear for days on end, leaving the dogs without any food or water.

“We will keep protesting until something is done about this. The RSPCA told us that they saw no problem last time and returned the dogs to the owner, so we are now standing up for these animals as nobody else seems to care.”

Upon arriving at the address, what stood out was the lack of grass on the front lawn of the person in question. There was also a series of loud barks coming from the kennels in the garden area, though that might have been the dozens of people stood by the gate.

We spoke to a number of neighbours on Queen Elizabeth Street, who all seemed to share a similar view that these dogs should not be under her care and should be rehomed elsewhere.

There was a strong turnout for the protest despite Storm Eunice rampaging through the country. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite

One neighbour told me that one of the dogs has walked into their house on three separate occasions, and they see the dogs roaming free on the street all day.

“Something is clearly not right at all in there,” one couple said. “No authorities seem interested, so it’s up to us to protect these poor animals from living in squalor. Something needs to be done before someone or one of the dogs gets seriously hurt or worse, killed.”

Another neighbour added: “We never see her at the house, but the dogs are always left here. It’s all very upsetting, she never walks them and sometimes leaves them on their own for days on end.

“We are a pet loving nation, most of us on the street have dogs, so we just want what is right for these animals.”

Animal carcasses can be seen inside the garden at times. | Photo: Erica-Jade Fox

A series of dead animal carcasses have been spotted in the garden, varying from foxes to rabbits and hares, and an unusual bonfire late at night this week certainly raised eyebrows on the street.

Protestors claim that the alleged culprit was burning evidence of mistreatment when she started a bonfire in her garden at 11.30pm on Wednesday, February 16, something which prompted residents to call the fire brigade over safety concerns.

A bonfire from the garden was photographed, with smoke apparently going into the kennels that were just metres away. | Photo: Erica-Jade Fox

The situation reached initial boiling point in August 2021, when locals claim that the dogs were left on their own without resources to eat and drink for over 30 hours.

Erica claims that the side door to the property was open while the woman was away, and the living room door had been chewed by the dogs to form an escape route, as well as there being holes dug in the garden by the kennels.

There is a covered up hole which appears to have been dug by a dog trying to escape from the kennel. | Photo: Erica-Jade Fox

However, it wasn’t the unanimous view of the street. One resident at the end of the street mentioned to me that the protest group “need to get their facts right” and stop harassing the woman.

She accepted that conditions were “mucky” but refused to believe that she left the dogs without food and water, saying: “She has those dogs in the house with her every night, the protestors should focus on doing actual good rather than picking on a vulnerable person.”

On a local level, the protests and situation seem to draw a lot of parallels with the Catmando incident last year, which saw claims of a man keeping over 50 cats in poor living conditions inside his home in Gainsborough.

All of the cats in that instance were eventually seized after weeks of protest, but it is unclear what will happen here and it depends on any information that may be found out by Lincolnshire Police and the RSPCA.

Police were in attendance at the property to speak to the owner of the dogs. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “We cannot discuss incidents about specific people and what action may have been taken. We understand how frustrating that is for animal lovers but releasing information could prejudice a future investigation or could lead to us being fined.

“We are so grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.”

The Lincolnite attempted to speak to the person being accused of this and hear her side of the story, but after they had a brief conversation with police officers they disappeared into the house and did not come back outside.

The protest took place on Queen Elizabeth Street in Wragby. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite