ANIMAL welfare inspectors are investigating complaints about the treatment of dogs being transported around the Capital in a box tied to the back of a camper van.
Footage captured covertly shows a cocker spaniel and chow chow being let out of the container in a Leith park. Animal welfare charity the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is monitoring the condition of the animals after receiving complaints.
“These two dogs are suffering in that box,” said Alexis of the Edinburgh and Lothian Lost Dogs facebook page, having shot the footage on her mobile phone last Sunday.
The dogs, along with others transported in the VW van, are believed to belong to a group from Eastern Europe who take them out busking on the city’s streets.
“I was told of the spaniel and one of the chow chow’s living in the back of a box on one of the vans,” said Alexis.
“I decided to go to the base camp and see for myself. I watched the St Bernard’s and a couple of chows being out on the grass at first next to the vans with a few of the owners.
“They are then all put away into vans after what looked like them being given some food.
“Around 8pm another male comes and he takes each dog one at a time back out the van, gives them some more food or whatever it was out of a carrier bag and gives them some water, takes them a walk and puts them back in the vans, all done solo.
“He then takes the spaniel and chow out the tow box carrier box on the back of the VW van. He does the same for them and they go back in to the tow box carrier. I know from locals that they are in there until morning when they leave for the streets. By removing these two dogs from the suffering they are enduring, they could be checked by a vet.”
The video posted on the Edinburgh and Lothian Lost Dogs’ page has now been viewed more than 30,000 times and generated widespread sympathy for the animals.
Lorna Cupples posted: “Totally shocked by what I have just seen.
“If the police can smash your car window to free your dog if you are stupid enough to leave it in a car in hot weather. Why can’t they do something to rescue these poor dogs?”
And Susan Hunter added: “Time for laws to change. I am sick and fed up hearing this phrase ‘our hands are tied we need more evidence.’
“It is all about protecting the welfare of the animals. How can this be acceptable as a way for dogs to live?”
Nicolle Rodgers thanked Alexis for posting the video and said: “I am absolutely traumatised – how can the dogs even breathe or move! And what if they need the toilet! I’m disgusted by how they are treating these dogs.”
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) confirmed complaints had been received and an investigation launched.
SPCA Inspector June Chalcroft said: “We can confirm that we have been alerted to a number of dogs in Edinburgh city centre and will continue to monitor them to ensure their welfare.”