Starving dogs are being left to each other alive at a secretive animal pound on the paradise island of Mauritius.
An expat that visited the government-run facility in December 2020 to search for his missing pet has recounted the ‘inhumane’ conditions, including dogs eating the feet of other dead and dying canines and lapping up their blood.
The man, who did not want to be named, said he saw cages with up to 30 or 40 animals inside – some of which were wearing collars – as well as a female member of staff emerging from a room wearing a butcher’s apron covered in blood.
In a voice recording, shared with MailOnline by animal welfare group Humane Society International (HSI), the man said he was forced to leave his phone in the car before entering the notorious pound – known as the Mauritius Society for Animal Welfare (MSAW).
‘If Mauritians knew what was happening inside there, if they let them film, they would all be standing outside [protesting],’ the man said.
A disturbing new video – secretly filmed in December and released by HSI – shows a dead dog being torn apart by a pack of skeletal hounds before they begin attacking and eating another dog that is still alive.
It barks and howls in pain as the pack tear at its frail limbs in the 20-second clip, filmed at the pound, which has been the subject of animal cruelty accusations for years.
Several other dogs in the overcrowded cell watch on as blood pools around the dead and dying animals. At the end of the video, a dog with prominent ribs can be seen picking at the remains of the dead dog, which appears to have been left in the cell.
Starving dogs are being left to each other alive at a secretive animal pound on the paradise island of Mauritius, disturbing footage and witness accounts have revealed
In 2015, a MSAW employee was secretly filmed stabbing dogs in the heart with a lethal injection, despite the government scrapping its catch-and-kill policy two years earlier.
Thousands of dogs and puppies are rounded up from Mauritius’ streets and beaches each year by government dog catchers and taken to MSAW where they are killed if no one comes to collect them, according to HSI.
The group said there are an estimated 250,000 dogs on the island, most of which are owned but unsterilised and free to roam the streets and beaches, breeding and giving birth to puppies.
The beach dogs are mainly well liked but can be considered a nuisance to the island’s wealthy holiday makers, which HSI said include almost 150,000 Brits each year.
The group previously operated a successful spay and neuter programme on the island, with a free clinic which it said sterilised thousands of dogs.
An expat that visited the MSAW in December 2020 to search for his missing pet has recounted seeing ‘inhumane’ conditions, including dogs eating the feet of other canines and lapping up their blood and overcrowded cages
HSI said it has been waiting more than a year for approval of an island-wide spay and neuter plan but this has yet to come to fruition despite ‘repeated attempts’ to engage with authorities and the support of a luxury beach-side hotel.
‘The thousands of tourists who visit Mauritius each year would be shocked to learn that the puppies they play with on the beach could be rounded up to languish and die in a hellish government pound,’ Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK said.
‘Despite the clear success of HSI’s spay and neuter program on the island offering a humane way to gradually reduce the number of roaming dogs, there appears to be a complete lack of political will to truly improve welfare.
‘MSAW has proved itself unfit to be in charge of the lives of these vulnerable dogs who deserve to be treated with compassion and respect, not left to starve and cannibalise each other.
‘Culls may seem like a quick fix, but as well as being heartless they are also hopeless at actually reducing the number of dogs in the long term,’ Bass said.
The MSAW pound’s policy of requiring members of the public to leave their phones and cameras behind in order to enter, allows the pound to operate in virtual secrecy.
Animal welfare group Humane Society International said the dogs had been ‘left to starve and cannibalise each other’ at the MSAW pound
Animal welfare groups have also been refused entry to assess the welfare of the dogs inside, according to HSI.
Campaigners are now calling for MSAW to be completely reformed into an independently-operated body focused on animal welfare and for the pound to be converted into an animal hospital.
They are also demanding Mauritius’ Animal Welfare Act (2013) be revised to include a mass sterilisation programme and that severe penalties be introduced for animal cruelty.
Among the other appeals are calls for respect for animals to form part of the national school curriculum in order to prevent future animal abuse, the introduction of dog adoption programmes and for Mauritius to open its borders to veterinarians from overseas who are currently not permitted to work on the island.
Campaigners have taken out an injunction against the catch and kill policy, which is due in the Supreme Court on February 17th.
MSAW and the Minister of Agro-industry and Attorney General, Maneesh Gobin, have been summoned to appear.