Skeletal dog rescued by Battersea as cruelty campaign takes hold

27 MARCH 2017

A starving and emaciated dog dumped in London has shocked staff here at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and has reaffirmed our commitment to our new campaign for tougher sentences for animal cruelty.

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The state of the sweet-natured Mongrel, named Stewart by his carers, horrified our staff. The skeletal four-year-old was brought in on 13 March by a member of the public who found him wandering in the streets in Sutton. His emaciated body has mystified staff – he wasn’t microchipped but is well trained and did not look as though he had been on the streets for long. While we can never know a stray’s history for definite, staff believe it is likely Stewart has been kept indoors and deliberately starved.

We launched a campaign in Parliament last month calling for stronger sentences for people who seriously abuse and mistreat animals. Currently the maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences in England and Wales is just six months in prison – the lowest sentence in Europe. We are campaigning for this to be raised to five years for the most shocking offences.

Stewart was so weak, our Veterinary team had to nurse him in isolation to ensure he did not catch any infections that would overwhelm his crippled immune system.

Fortunately, Stewart has improved, although he is still being monitored closely by our experts. Incredibly hungry, he is now eating four carefully measured meals a day.

Battersea’s Director of Veterinary Services, Shaun Opperman, said:

“We were all shocked when we first saw Stewart. He’s painfully thin and if he hadn’t come to us when he did, there’s no telling what might have happened to him.

“His claws were overgrown and his coat was in good condition, so it’s unlikely he’s been fending for himself for long. He’s on a rigorous feeding regime now as he’s so hungry and we need to make sure he’s getting enough nutrients.

“Despite what he’s been through, Stewart is a sweet and trusting dog. Now we have to hope he pulls through.”

Battersea is calling on members of the public to contact their MP and call for tougher sentences for those who seriously abuse and neglect animals like Stewart.



The maximum sentence for animal cruelty is six months in prison. Help increase this to five years.

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