AN RSPCA inspector and two vets have revisited under-fire Swindon and District Animal Haven and taken three dogs away.

RSPCA staff returned to the site on Monday, to re-examine the animals and the conditions they lived in, and offered to take difficult animals off owner John Warwick's hands.

And yesterday they returned to the site to take away three dogs.

"They said they had spaces available for animals and we had three dogs that were problematic so we let them take them," said John, pictured left.

"That's good for us because it gives us more space to cope with more animals that will come in over the next few weeks."

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "There were no specific problems with the animals.

"There continues to be some problems with the conditions so we will continue to offer advice.

"The general conditions and the cleanliness were issues which our vets are going to go away and write a report on and draw up recommendations on cross-contamination and disease control.

"We have also offered to help reduce the number of animals there by taking some away - but this was not as removal or confiscation."

Gloucestershire Animal Action shone the spotlight on conditions at the sanctuary earlier this month with a seven-minute video which was posted on the internet.

The film showed pigs and cows kept outside, cats kept in cages in a caravan and a muddy goose pen. After the activists' investigation, RSPCA inspectors visited the site.

They gave Mr Warwick a verbal warning and advice' on keeping some of his animals.

"Since all this kicked off we have had a bit of a tidy-up," said Mr Warwick. "And the public is now more aware of the issues we have here.

"But they now also all know that we are a messy place. Hopefully, they also know there is no issue to do with the welfare of the animals.

"They are all healthy and well looked after. We have had vets here and the RSPCA and they have both said that.

"There were a few things to be sorted out, such as knocking in nails that were sticking out of posts, but we have dealt with those things now."

He said work was also coming along on a video he hoped he could post on the internet, to hit back at the haven's critics.

The RSPCA spokeswoman added: "If people have specific animal welfare concerns about any individual, organisation or establishment it is important that those concerns are reported to us.

"As a charity we rely on the public to be our eyes and our ears. Anyone with any information should contact us on 0300 1234 999 and all calls are in confidence."


FOUR young volunteers have leapt to the defence of an animal sanctuary near Swindon.

But at the same time a former volunteer at Swindon and District Animal Haven has said that she is not surprised animal activists have highlighted problems at the shelter via an internet video.

Zoe Illing, 15, of Old Town, has been volunteering at the sanctuary for two years.

She attacked those behind the film saying the action did not help the animals.

And with friends Lucy Bryant, Corrina Negrin and Amelia Buckland-Hurry, all 14, she spent last weekend taking pictures and filming at the site, so they could post their own version of the site's conditions online.

"When we were up at the weekend there were lots of people who came up who were interested in the animals.

"And those that came up said to us that it was such a lovely place and asked us how the animal activists could do what they did.

"If they cared about the animals, why didn't they come and help instead of do what they did?"

Lucy took most of the photographs. She said; "Since this story broke I think that all the volunteers up there have been trying as hard as they could.

"Of course, we all did before but everyone now knows people are watching things there.

"There's now lots of people at my school who are interested in coming up and helping. For those people, getting there is a problem."

Not all people who worked at the animal shelter had such glowing reports of it.

Jessie Bascombe, of Pinehurst, worked there for several months four years ago.

But her criticisms about the way animals were kept at the haven led to her stopping volunteering.

"When I saw this I just thought at last someone is paying attention to the standards there'," she said. "I have worked in animal rescue all my life and can see that some of the people behind John are people who want to help animals - but they are not the sort of people who thoroughly research animal welfare and know a lot about animal rescue.

"As far as I can see from when I was there, not a lot has changed. Some bits have been tidied up and that's good.

"John's heart is in the right place, he's a lovely chap, but his head isn't in the right place.

"If he can't afford to give these animals proper and adequate care, he shouldn't be doing it at all."