Lost Souls Sanctuary: Monmouthshire council seizes 82 'neglected' dogs and starts criminal investigation - as 11 put down
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A council raid on a dog sanctuary in a quiet village has triggered a protest outside Welsh Parliament - with campaigners questioning the basis behind 11 of the dogs being put down.
In mid-August, South Wales' Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) carried out a court-authorised warrant at the Lost Souls dog sanctuary in Rogiet. The council said it had received numerous complaints and had evidence of neglect, and staff had attempted to work with the sanctuary's owner for some time.
Council staff, along with vets, animal behaviourists, and police, seized a total of 82 dogs from the site, with 11 of them euthanised on welfare grounds. A council spokesperson told NationalWorld that "a significant number of dogs were found to be suffering" by staff who attended.
"All the action to date has been evidence-based and legal powers have been used to take necessary action to prevent further suffering," they continued. "This action has been undertaken in a fit and proper manner by qualified veterinary experts and authorised enforcement officers."
A criminal investigation into the sanctuary was now underway, the council said. Further information would be released when it was legally appropriate to do so.
The council said some staff members had also faced harassment. "There have been some inaccurate and damaging posts circulating on social media platforms that have led to targeted hate messages and threats to individual officers. All incidents have been and will be reported to the police," the spokesperson added.
However in a press release sent to NationalWorld, local campaigners questioned how the decision to kill 11 of the dogs was made. Lost Souls had housed many large guardian-type dogs, they claimed, and specialised knowledge of these breeds was needed to understand them.
The dogs they believe were euthanised were "nervous towards strangers" and would have been difficult for an inexperienced dog handler to deal with, a spokesperson said. At least two thought to be among the dead were nervous, but non-aggressive towards humans.
Some were living at Lost Souls for their own safety, and had been for many years. "They were safe at the sanctuary, having no contact with the general public and not a risk to anyone," they continued.
"We don’t understand the motivation or justification for killing 11 dogs on the grounds of a sanctuary which was supposed to be a safe place and a home for life for those dogs," the campaign's spokespeople said. "Euthanising the dogs should only have been done when all other avenues had been explored to save the dogs lives.”
The protesters said they have reported several Monmouthshire County Council staff to the police and the RSPCA. On the sanctuary's Facebook page, it said Lost Souls specialised in caring for "the dogs that rescues can't rehome; the problem dogs, the ones with behavioural problems, the ones who have bitten people, the ones traumatised by early upbringing that leaves them unsuitable for re-homing".
"A lucky few find Lost Souls," the page says. "Sadly Lost Souls can take no more dogs on, there is a limit to how many can be helped, but the ones lucky enough to have found this sanctuary need help and care for the rest of their lives."