Two days ago a Geelong newspaper carried a front page story about dogs allegedly being kept in terrible conditions at a Meredith Property. They published photos including the one below.

It was upsetting to think that these dogs were spending cold winter nights in dirty pens without coats or blankets to keep them warm. Dogs are social animals and shouldn’t spend their life isolated in pens to begin with. Even more disturbing was the lack of concern shown by the shire Golden Plains Shire Council.

Golden Plains Shire media officer Felicity Bolitho confirmed the visit to the property on Tuesday but said rangers were not worried about the animals. “The visit found all dogs on the property are registered with council and conditions are fine,” she said. “There was no evidence to suggest that the property was a breeding/puppy farm.”

That evening I received an invitation on Facebook to join a group of animal lovers taking coats, beds and blankets to the property. My partner and I were keen to help although to be honest I was a bit unsure about the whole thing. Would the owners really welcome our help? Would the other people attending be reasonable or would it turn ugly? We decided go along. If we didn’t feel comfortable we could always leave!

When we arrived at the property with blankets, coats and cleaning equipment the owner accepted our offer to help. We found an old shed that appeared to have been used to house dogs for many years…

…and 17 dogs who appeared to have spent many years in these pens,

and yes, that’s Sharon, the dog from the newspaper article.

This was not a good environment for these dogs to live out their days. Most were old and many required veterinary attention.

What were we to do?

With the owners permission, we cleaned and scrubbed. A vet nurse checked over the dogs who were all given coats and clean bedding. The owner is a good person who loved her animals but was not able to keep on top of the huge amount of work so many dogs involves. Instead of judgement and accusations we offered compassion and assistance.

In return she agreed to rehome 11 of her dogs to us. This included Sharon, the dog in the paper on Friday.

Here’s a film someone put together about the Meredith dogs.