WVS Vets Rescue Puppies from the Illegal Pet Trade in Malawi

Earlier this month the WVS team at the Blantyre SPCA received a worrying call from a member of the public, reporting on puppies being tied up by their legs at a nearby house.

Two of our team members, Defence and George, immediately set off to the police station and together with two officers, visited the house. The scene they walked in on shocked them all. Two adult dogs and six puppies were found inside, crammed together and unable to move freely. The owner admitted to buying dogs off other people to then sell on the street - part of the growing illegal pet trade.

All eight dogs were confiscated and brought to the WVS clinic to be examined. They were terribly frightened, underweight and severely dehydrated. Two of the smallest puppies were only six weeks old; one was suffering from a docked tail either where it had an elastic band tightened round it or from simply being cut off, whilst the other was so weak he was unable to stand at all. Sadly, these two young puppies did not survive the first night but the future was looking a little brighter for the remaining six dogs.

Thankfully, these animals were not suffering from injuries as severe as the younger puppies. One of the other puppies however was struggling with a large wound on his front leg which our veterinary team sutured and bandaged and we are pleased to report he is healing well! All six dogs were given worming and anti-parasite treatment before being taken to the quarantine kennels. After their three weeks in quarantine, they will be introduced to the other shelter dogs currently residing at the BSPCA whilst our team try and find good homes for them.

Dr Dagmar Mayer, our Africa Projects Director who has been managing the care of these rescued dogs said, “Road side pet sales are a huge problem in Malawi. It is illegal to sell or buy animals next to the road but the police often struggle to cope with the number of people committing this crime. A large number of these puppies are sick and suffering from parvovirus infections. Recently, we have also had quite a few cases of dogs that have been stolen from properties, especially pedigree dogs which are then sold at the roadside.

At the BSPCA we are working on helping to improve the animal welfare law in Malawi and are lobbying with the city council to adjust the present act and ensure prosecution is in place for those buying or selling stolen animals, in order to finally end this cruel activity.”

Our teams strive to help as many animals in need as possible, and cases like this are not uncommon. By tackling the illegal pet trade, we hope to reduce the number of dogs needing rescue and urgent veterinary care such as these. The BSPCA is one of the only clinics in the entire region in this part of Malawi, and with the support from people like you we can continue to offer a lifeline to animals and the community!

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