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RSPCA Kills dogs with bolt gun

(20 Posts)
valhala Thu 24-Sep-09 23:59:07

In June this year 10 GSDs were killed by the RSPCA in Wales, using a captive bolt gun.

It is important to point out here that the bolt gun does not always kill outright - if you Google the term you will see You Tube video of a calf killed this way to demonstrate my point. It has to be used at point blank range.

The deaths of these dogs came to the attention of independent rescue only AFTER the event although the RSPCA claim that such rescues were approached and declined to help. Of my many contacts in rescue across the UK, all say they were NOT approached.

The deaths of the 10 GSDs came first to the attention of Many Tears rescue in Wales. Here are the two emails which the RSPCA sent Many Tears in response to their enquiries:


Thank you for your enquiry. Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying. We receive a very large volume of enquiries here and have to prioritise to deal with urgent animal welfare issues first.

There has been some misinformation posted with regard to this case. The facts are as follows:

We received a call on 23 June this year from a member of the public relating to 10 German Shepherd dogs at an address in Pontardawe, in south Wales. The caller said the dogs owner, a relative, had died and the dogs had been living on their own.

An RSPCA inspector visited the premises that day and assessed the animals. The inspector took the decision that none of the dogs were at all suitable for rehoming due to concerns about their aggressive behavior and lack of socialization with people. The dogs were also suffering from a severe skin condition.

We explained the next-of-kin that they should contact other rescue groups for help. The next-of-kin were made fully aware that if the RSPCA became involved, the dogs would be euthanized.

The owners next-of-kin later contacted the RSPCA again and said they had been turned down by other charities who were unwilling to take on the animals and they signed over the dogs, fully aware of what would happen.

It is the RSPCAs raison d'etre to prevent cruelty to animals, and it was decided this sad, but ultimately necessary, outcome for the dogs was the best way to prevent the animals any further suffering. The decision was not made lightly and, as always, it was made with the best interests of the animal at heart.

Thank you again for contacting the Society.

Kind regards
RSPCA HQ Advice Team

So another letter was sent asking them again - did they shoot the dogs? This is the reply:

Thank you for your further enquiry.

Yes, they were. A decision was made following a discussion between eight RSPCA officers that the most humane form of euthanasia would be to use a captive bolt. This would minimise distress to the dogs, while also being the safest method for those people responsible for dealing with the animals. Restraining the dogs and then shaving a limb to prepare for a lethal injection would have caused these animals unnecessary suffering, due to the animals suffering from a severe skin condition.

Thank you again for contacting the Society.

What Many Tears and the majority of the other independent rescues want to know is who are these rescues which the RSPCA claim were contacted before the dogs were killed?

Those in independent rescue feel that the German Shepherds should not have been killed at all but the RSPCAs extensive resources should have been used to properly assess and rehabilitate the dogs, and that a skin condtion is treatable and thus irrelevent.

And, if the dogs were so aggressive and could not be PTS by injection how on earth did the RSPCA get close enough to use a bolt gun, which only works AT POINT BLANK RANGE?

It has been said that the dogs were seperated before they were killed, which we pray is the case as otherwise the last to die would have seen, heard and smelt the sight of, cries and blood of the first... but again, if this is so, how did the RSPCA seperate such aggressive, untouchable dogs?

It doesn't add up.

The RSPCA has approximately £119 MILLION pounds in the bank, yet the local branches see none of this and are reliant upon raising their own funds AND paying the RSPCA HQ for the privilidge. What is this money for? Bolt guns?

There is a petition set up to request that the RSPCA stop using bolt guns, something which the Dogs Trust as well as independent rescue is not in favour of. If you would like to sign it, it's here;

KerryMumbles Fri 25-Sep-09 00:09:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moondog Fri 25-Sep-09 00:11:04

Dear God, we live in a world where peopel starve to death and you are worried about this??

TheCrackFox Fri 25-Sep-09 00:22:51

You took the words right out of my mouth Moondog.

valhala Fri 25-Sep-09 00:28:31

Thanks Kerry, I was going to include that link but thought it both even more long-winded than my post here and too over-emotional to include though I am grateful to you.

Moondog, yes I AM worried about this. It breaks my heart and I know that I am far from alone in feeling this way. I accept though that you and TheCrackFox (what a mad name!), don't feel as I do. Each to their own and all that.

bedlambeast Fri 25-Sep-09 11:05:46

Message withdrawn

ceres Fri 25-Sep-09 11:21:40

moondog and the crackfox - it is possible to be concerned about both human welfare AND animal welfare.

thesunshinesbrightly Fri 25-Sep-09 13:43:20

oh so a dogs life is not important but a humans is.

thesunshinesbrightly Fri 25-Sep-09 13:46:23

op i remember reading this, it's disgusting, really pisses me off!!

all i feel is angry

bodeniites Fri 25-Sep-09 13:49:50

i hate any animal suffering through no fault of its own

spugs Fri 25-Sep-09 17:14:39

I saw this on the many tears web site.

Its very sad that they used these measures and considering that the dogs were supposed to be aggressive and unapproachable that something that has to be in contact with the dogs skull was used!!! If they had to get this close surly lethal injection would be better/kinder then stunning them and then having to finish them off by bleeding/pithing them (not sure pithing is right term).

I have no problem with dogs being put down humanly if they are aggressive or not re homealble but this does sound like someone is telling porkies and as lots of people give them cash to be kind to animals then questions definitely need to be asked.

There seems to be a lot of anti dog people on here at the minute, which is fair enough else where in the forum but as this is the Pets section i would'nt have thought its suprising that people in this section care about animal welfare!

junglist1 Fri 25-Sep-09 19:46:12

This is in pets not AIBU isn't it?
I give to the RSPCA and am not really over the moon that my money pays for this sort of thing TBH

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 25-Sep-09 20:09:42

ive often wondered about the RSPCA tbh, heard some horror stories from people who have worked for them or fundraised for them.

this story doesnt add up at all - im a bit shocked as i didnt even think that this type of method was ever used. i thought they were all given lethal injection now a days, obviously i was wrong. seems unnecessary to me. i dont object to the fact they were put down if that was really what was needed but the method sounds horrible.

valhala Fri 25-Sep-09 23:16:39

I guess the method of slaughter isn't one they like to advertise. Certainly its one which has been banned even in Ireland, which has an appalling animal welfare track record, is something which the Dogs Trust have put on record that they would NEVER do and unlike lethal injection is not recommended by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has four lists of ways to kill, ranging from recommended to not acceptable - a captive bolt gun is deemed not acceptable.

This is what they say:

• Rapid acting
• Although potentially and theoretically an acceptable method this is not
recommended for routine use due to practical difficulties including:
• Requires skill and knowledge of anatomical variation in dog breeds e.g.
dolichocephalic, brachycephalic, mesaticephalic skull types
• Animal’s head needs to remain steady to ensure accurate shot (this may
be particularly difficult with cats)
• The bolt must be placed directly on to the animals skull
• Requires the animal to be restrained (this may be particularly difficult with
• Requires further procedure (pithing or bleeding)
• Risk of transmission of zoonotic disease (e.g. rabies) if exposed to blood/
brain matter
• May cause panic in waiting animals
• Not recommended for euthanasia as other methods are more practicable
and humane

And this is the definition of "pithing":

* Definition of pithing = A wire or polypropylene rod is inserted through the hole in the head made by gunshot or penetrating captive bolt. The rod is pushed into the brain and slid back and forth and rotated to cause maximum damage to the brain and upper spinal cord.

As to those who are unhappy with my posts, I could argue that there are more important things to worry about and post on MN than whether OtterInASkoda is the best username but I don't see those threads getting the same response from you as this one. This is a thread for posts on pets - these dogs were and could again have been someone's pets, given the chance. I didn't ask if I was being unreasonable thinking as I do as I don't believe I am. I offered a genuine account of a real event and have made others aware of the situation and the petition, which you are free to sign or ignore - as I said, each to their own.

If your concern is genuinely for humans, perhaps you will consider this - it is a known fact in medical circles that those who abuse animals often go on to abuse humans.

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 25-Sep-09 23:27:55

ive signed that petition valhala. this is the pets section so i believe its perfectly valid to post it in here. those who want to worry about world peace or good user names are free to do so in their respective sections imo.

valhala Sat 26-Sep-09 00:22:10

Thank you VicarInaTuTu (now that IS a name worthy of it's own thread!). I just hope to god some good comes of this sorry situation.

I always used to be sceptical of petititions until I started one a couple of years back to call for a council to build their own pound and so prevent their area's strays being held in a neighbouriing poud, where they were hidden in the back, not advertised as lost or in need of new owners, and killed seven days later. My petition got the attention of a local prospective councillor, the Press and the local animal rights group and we got a new pound built. Since then the dogs taken in within that area have been advertised and failing being reuinited with owners or rehomed from the pound go on to the safety of rescue.

So the moral of that story is that despite my initial reservations petitions CAN work!

spugs Sat 26-Sep-09 08:21:13

A man in my area was prosecuted for using a captive bolt gun to kill dogs. People would take their dogs to him to be put down as it was a lot cheaper then the vets.
If it was illegal for him to do it then why can the RSPCA do it??

thighsmadeofcheddar Sat 26-Sep-09 08:28:22

Horrible story Valhala, I've signed. We support the big GSD rescue too, who do great work for rescue dogs.

hamsterlover Thu 01-Oct-09 13:55:16

I donate monthly to the RSPCA (and dogs trust) but the RSPCA can piss right off now. I don't give so that animals can be treated inhumanely! I will be cancelling my Direct Debity and increasing the one to the Dogs Trust.

whispywhisp Fri 02-Oct-09 13:28:59

I worked, for many years, for the RSPCA.

I have many stories that go against the RSPCA aim's and whilst they do a great job they aren't what they're cracked up to be and what people think.

Yes people donate all the time to the Society and yes, you are right OP, the Branches don't see that money and yes they each have to pay the RSPCA HQ for the priviledge of their is called a 'Branch Contribution' which is a fixed sum each year, normally in the £1000s. That money has to come out of what they are able to fundraise...the money YOU donate if you see a collecting tin etc.

It is a great shame these lovely dogs were destroyed but, at the end of the day, if the Inspector felt they weren't suitable to be rehomed they had no choice in the matter. The owners were at fault there and to leave them in such poor bodily condition too.

If the method they used wasn't instant then they should have tranquilised them first (dart gun) and then humanely destroyed by using a normal injection of pentobarbitone.

It probably all came down to cost etc etc.

I don't support the RSPCA - I worked for them, that was enough for me. There is a lot that goes on in that Society that is wrong and I, for one, will never give them 1p of my hard earnt money. There are 100s of employees working in their newly built HQ (which cost millions to build) that are on huge salaries and yet the Inspectors/Animal Collection Drivers work so incredibly hard but are still on fairly low wages for the very long hours that they do.

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