Animal Welfare issues alert after finding Maltese poodles in shocking state of neglect

The shocking state of a Maltese Poodle that was rescued by the Animal Welfare Society

The shocking state of a Maltese Poodle that was rescued by the Animal Welfare Society

Published Jan 13, 2024


Cape Town - A Cape Town animal welfare organisation has cautioned pet lovers of the high-maintenance of Maltese poodles amid a shocking discovery in Mitchells Plain this week.

Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS SA) said while responding to a call for help on Thursday, they were shocked at what they found at the home of an elderly couple.

Spokesperson Allan Perrins said on arrival at the home in Rocklands, inspectors were forced to navigate their way through years of decomposing faeces to find a frightened little family of eight severely neglected dogs comprised of seven Maltese poodles and a cross-breed in the back yard.

“All the dogs were suffering from acute skin infections, fleas, severely matted coats that weighed more than their own body weight, painfully weighing them down and cruelly inhibiting their movement. Some of the dogs were blind. Some have missing teeth and all of the poodles have painful ingrown toenails.

“They reeked of years of deplorable neglect. The smell of urine, faeces and rotting flesh was overwhelming.”

Perrins said the dogs had no shelter to protect them from the hot sun, no water to quench their thirst and appeared to have been starved for days on end.

“Their situation was so desperate that we decided to immediately take them into our care. After lots of tears and excuses, their owner eventually agreed to sign them over to us.”

One of the dogs with severely matted hair.

He said the dogs had belonged to an elderly woman who, along with her husband, faced being evicted.

“Until now, we are not sure who placed the call to us but when we arrived she was very upset and insisted these were her dogs.

“We explained that the animals could not live in this state and after some time she agreed. The animals were taken for assessment and the cross-breed had to be put down due to the severity of its condition.”

Perrins said while the organisation had been flooded with offers of help from private dog parlours, it was found that the matting was too severe.

“We had to put (the cross-breed) to sleep because the matting was so bad that we had to prevent it from feeling pain while it was being done.

“It was found that there was old faeces, sand and other forms of dirt stuck in the poodles' fur. Maltese poodles are very cute, but they are

extremely high-maintenance and pet owners need to be very careful of accepting them if they are unable to properly care for and groom them.”

Perrin said at this stage assessments were being done to ascertain whether the former owner would face prosecution for neglect.

If you have any concerns about the welfare of animals, call AWS on 021 692 2626 or email inspectorate@

One of the poodles being tended to.

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