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Freezing puppy defies winter and social media backlash to return home

26 June 2019 - 08:42 By Dave Chambers
Four-week-old Snoopy is recovering at Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Four-week-old Snoopy is recovering at Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Image: Mdzananda Animal Clinic

A hypothermic four-week-old puppy that survived being left in the winter cold and rain in Cape Town will be returned to his owners despite a social media backlash.

Snoopy is recovering at Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha, and is spending the nights with clinic bookkeeper Tashmin May because he is too young to be left alone.

But Mdzananda fundraising and communications manager Marcelle du Plessis said he would soon be going home.

“His owners have shown immense concern for Snoopy being ill. They have checked up on him regularly,” she said.

“This incident was definitely not due to cruelty but due to a lack of understanding of a puppy’s needs.”

The owners were being trained on how to look after Snoopy properly and were eager to learn, said Du Plessis.

“When we released Snoopy’s story on Facebook we received a terrible backlash from the public,” she said.

Snoopy, when he was brought to the clinic just over a week ago.
Snoopy, when he was brought to the clinic just over a week ago.
Image: Mdzananda Animal Clinic

“People were telling us that we should not return the puppy to his owners. People also accused the owners of being cruel humans. This is the normal reaction from the public when an animal who has suffered returns back home. However, we strongly believe that education is the only solution.

“Of course not everyone is willing to learn and we treat those cases differently, but generally we have found that most cases of neglect are due to misunderstanding, and owners are willing to learn and become better pet carers.”

Nearly all dogs in Khayelitsha live outside, said Du Plessis, and his owners had not realised that puppies had different needs.

He was revived at the clinic after his owners brought him in suffering from hypothermia.

Clinic director Susan Wishart said: "There are many backyard breeders. Puppies are ripped away from their mothers at a premature age so they can be sold for cash.

“These breeders often do not know the needs of a puppy and sell them when they are too young. Many of them die.”

Wishart said puppies needed to be with their mothers for at least six weeks, for milk and warmth.


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