New home for Sunderland dog left starved, beaten and brain damaged

A Sunderland dog who was so badly abused and starved he was on the brink of death has found a loving new home.

Monday, 26th December 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 1:58 pm
Gabriel when he first arrived in kennels.
Gabriel when he first arrived in kennels.

No-one thought Gabriel would survive when he arrived at Cleadon Kennels in February after being found in Millfield, Sunderland, in an emaciated state and with cigarette burns all over his face.

It became clear the Staffordshire Bull Terrier had suffered severe beatings because he was left with brain damage and is prone to falling over.

Gabriel in the festive spirit ready for his new home.

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Over the following months, the staff at the kennels painstakingly nurtured him back to health, although rehoming Gabriel proved difficult because of his special needs.

But, now, thanks to the help of animal welfare groups sharing his story online, the loving lad is off to pastures new after finding a home at The Birkett-Smith Animal Sanctuary in Dorset, where they plan to give him a life of luxury and pampering.

The sanctuary provides a home life, rehabilitation and love for scores of animals who have been left with physical and emotional scars from years of abuse and staff cannot wait for Gabriel to arrive, once his own little house has been built.

Joy Keys, founder of the sanctuary, said: “I was really taken aback when I saw the photos of the state he had been in.

Gabriel when he first arrived in kennels.

“It will be lovely for him to come home, he has had a terrible life and deserves some happiness.”

Sam Bellamy, who works at the sanctuary, said: “Gabriel was about as abused as a dog can get. He was literally an emaciated bag of bones with cigarette burns on his face, sores on his body and scabs on his back. We can’t even imagine what he went through.

“Although he may have trouble staying on all four paws he certainly landed on them because here with us he has a chance at rehabilitation and a home forever that is not far short of heaven for dogs like Gabriel.”

She said at the sanctuary he will have a soft bed, food, friends and buckets of love, where he can hopefully leave his awful past behind.

Gabriel in the festive spirit ready for his new home.

For the staff at Cleadon Kennels, the news of the sanctuary offering to take Gabriel, AKA Skinny, was a dream come true.

Manager Aimee Pemberton said: “I cried like a baby for two days. We are all over the moon that he has been given this chance.

“We really didn’t think he would pull through, but he has come out the other side.”

The Birkett-Smith Animal Sanctuary is a charity and anyone who would like to sponsor Gabriel can visit

Gabriel when he first arrived in kennels.