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Former animal haven volunteer hits out at owner
Buy this photo » Former Swindon and District Animal Haven volunteer Charlie Dunn with Cindar the dog
A FORMER volunteer at an animal sanctuary has accused the owner of a catalogue of neglect which included failing to look after newborn animals whose carcases were thrown onto a fire.
Charlie Dunn, who worked at the Swindon and District Animal Haven, claimed John Warwick pretended to be caring while failing to look after goats, pigs and even his own puppy.
Mr Warwick reacted with shock to the allegations yesterday, denying he had done anything wrong and issuing a robust defence of his record at the family-run farm.
Mr Dunn, who volunteered for three years, claimed Mr Warwick spent little time with the animals and made basic mistakes such as failing to feed colostrum milk to goat kids.
He says he feels guilty at not taking his concerns further at the time but has been prompted to speak out now because Mr Warwick is trying to overturn a court ban on keeping animals.
Mr Dunn, 55, said: “I made excuses for John for years because I considered him a friend but the picture he is painting of himself as kind and caring towards animals is false. His mistakes included feeding the goat kids with Carnation milk and the odd spoon of sugar. When one pregnant goat looked sick he just said ‘she’ll be alright’. The kid lasted a few days and the mother died before the week was out. This happened up to three times after which the animals were thrown into an incinerator about the size of a small room. We told him they needed colostrum, and we even printed the information out, but his was the only way. It was like arguing with the Prime Minister.”
Mr Dunn, from Royal Wootton Bassett, volunteered at weekends between 2006 and 2009 after taking on three dogs from the farm, which is located in Ballards Ash on the outskirts of the town.
He also blames Mr Warwick for the death of a puppy called Mollie. Mr Dunn, a builder by trade, said: “Mollie had chewed John’s house to pieces so he began taking her to work and leaving her in his Discovery, which she chewed as well. Eventually he left her in an outdoor wire kennel and she just went downhill after that. I visited the farm after I stopped volunteering there and I saw a sign on a board saying RIP Mollie.”
Mr Warwick, 55, was banned from keeping farm animals for 10 years and domestic animals for four years by Chippenham magistrates in November 2011.
He admitted four offences of animal cruelty relating to pigs he kept at the farm. Mr Dunn said: “When there were other people around he was like Dr Dolittle, but when it was quiet he gave virtually no time at all to the animals. They weren’t fed properly and their shelters weren’t cleaned out. I would go home at night almost in tears. “ Mr Warwick said all goat kids were given colostrum and no animal carcases had been thrown onto the fire.
“When you have an animal that doesn’t make it, it’s a tear-jerker,” he said. “The intention is to save every animal and for the one or two that don’t pull through, there are another 2,000 that do.” He denied he had neglected any animals and defended himself over the allegation about his treatment of the puppy.
“Mollie was a beautiful dog, a collie,” he said. “We couldn’t rehome it because it had bitten its owner and we took it home and it bit my kids as well. Unfortunately it had to be put down and it was done in a very humane way.
“We put down 12 dogs in 16 years and we rehome around 500 dogs a year.” Mr Warwick added: “To say we put animals on the fire is stupid, it’s ridiculous. We have a place where we take them.”