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‘This didn’t happen overnight’

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Xena and her five newborn puppies were rescued by the SPCA (Photograph supplied)

An appeal has been made for the public to help a “warrior” dog and her five puppies that were rescued by an animal charity over the weekend.

The Bermuda Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said in a post on its Facebook page that the team was working to give the malnourished mother and litter their best chance at survival.

It explained that the mother, now named Xena, gave birth just before she and her litter were picked up by the SPCA.

The post said that a representative of the dog’s owners had handed over the animals.

It added: “Xena was found nursing her newborn puppies under a van.

“Xena is malnourished, has a terrible skin condition, which has no doubt left her extremely uncomfortable.

“These things don’t happen overnight. Xena has been neglected for some time.”

Xena and her puppies were rescued by the Bermuda SPCA team (Photograph from Facebook)

The post, which was accompanied by two photographs of the animals, said: “Right from the beginning she cared for her puppies as best she could.

“To honour her warrior spirit the staff have named her and her five pups after dog heroes in history.

“We are now working around the clock to give mum and pups the best chance of survival, it will cost in excess of $1,500 per dog if they make it as far to require spay/ neuter.

“A kind soul already paid for some puppy food and milk for us today.”

Xena and her puppies were rescued by the Bermuda SPCA team (Photograph from Facebook)

The SPCA post added: “We are often criticised for being full, but the exact reason we run a managed intake policy is so we are equipped and ready to take on an emergency case such as this.”

Kate Terceira, the Bermuda SPCA’s executive director, said Xena was a bull breed and about five years old.

She explained: “A severely malnourished dog is clearly going to struggle to support their puppies.

“We are closely monitoring Xena to make sure she is able to produce milk and sustain the puppies.

“Xena is on a feeding plan, which will hopefully help her milk production and weight.

“This is the most ideal scenario, however, there is every chance that we may need to step in to assist, which will include bottle feeding the puppies, which is round the clock, non-stop, but we will absolutely do this if necessary.

“Xena and her puppies are supported by our amazing team and our shelter vets Endsmeet.”

Xena and her five newborn puppies were rescued by the SPCA (Photograph supplied)

Ms Terceira added: “It’s always devastating for the team to see any animal in distress.

“The team are so focused on helping and still are, as professionals they have sadly witnessed too many sad and difficult situations.

“It doesn’t make it easy, it makes it necessary.

“The Bermuda SPCA ask for people to please reach out sooner rather than later. We offer a food bank programme and free animal food for those in need.

“We offer financial support for those in need, which includes veterinary support. There is truly no reason why any animal in Bermuda should be allowed to suffer.”

Xena and her five newborn puppies were rescued by the SPCA (Photograph supplied)

She said people who own or are considering taking on pets should carry out research, ask questions and request help.

Ms Terceira explained: “As pet owners you have a responsibility for another life. Educate yourself about care, costs, life expectancy.

“Your lifestyle is hugely important when considering whether to own an animal. You may want a puppy, but if you work eight hours a day, we would suggest this potentially isn’t the best match.

“Just because it was OK to have a dog chained in your yard 24/7 years ago, doesn’t mean that now it is.

“We have learnt that pets need to have an environment that is similar and as close as possible to their natural habitat, as if they were in the wild.

“For example keeping a rabbit in a small hutch 24/7 isn’t how they would live in the wild; it shouldn’t be how they live as pets.

“We at the Bermuda SPCA believe strongly in education and supporting those in need.

“However, we constantly have our hands tied when it comes to enforcing the law. These laws need to change.”

* To donate towards the care of Xena and her puppies, visitspca.bm/donate