Co. Antrim’s Malamute Disgrace



The last 24 or so hours have possibly been some of the most difficult for us here at Malamute Matters due to the double tragedy of the fire at Manchester Dog’s Home and the death of one our own Volunteer’s (SaraHenley’s) 2 dogs Marley and Sassy. Within almost minutes our members in our group  and volunteers sprung into action and began organising, posting updates and donating to the MDH appeals.

We are very proud of our members and our record with helping dogs. However we can only continue to do this with “your” help. Sadly there is no limit to the dogs that need our help, the Northern Ireland Malamutes are just one of these examples. We desperately require your help to be able to continue to help these’s a story that should never be forgotten.

For those un-familiar with this story and for those who only know ‘some’ of the details we encourage you to please read on…

In July 2013 two people moved from the UK to Northern Ireland (Ballymoney area)  with a few Alaskan Malamutes  and began breeding dogs.  What made this situation disgraceful from the beginning was that the two people were already well-known in UK and Scotland for evading RSPCA investigations in 2010 and 2011. Their main aim was to make money, pure and simple and move to America.

In the Autumn of 2013 there were reports that there were over 40 dogs at the Ballymoney area property. And neighbours had made reports to the local council over the condition of the dogs, including many un-planned and accidental matings of dogs, with the result of many litters being produced.

Incredibly  this continued for several months.


It was at  this time that Benvardin Kennels offered to help re home some of the dogs. This request fell on deaf ears; it was very clear that main purpose of these 2 people were sole financial gain and not the welfare of their dogs. Further  advertisements  were placed on  Gumtree offering these dogs for sale.

On April 15th the local council were again notified of the situation with these dogs, and were further informed that the couple were about to dump dogs and take of for the USA. Not only was no action taken by the council, but a council worker stated that the dogs just needed a good wash but were physically fine !

883332_10203845230635536_4948466210946792889_oOnly 4 days later, after no action was taken by the council, 8 of these ‘physically fine’ dogs were dumped by Tuvaurat Kennels at Benvardin Kennels.  Benvardin kennels ended up with 8 of the dogs, with another rescue receiving up to 13 dogs. One of the 8 dogs Gerti at the very young age of  10 month old was already  pregnant and gave birth to three pups. And more tragedy struck as one of the pups crossed over last month.

Maxi BeforePresent Day: Most people who are reading this article may already know the details of the state of the dogs, many photos have been circulated on social media and internet sites. However when I spoke to John Burns , who has been on the front line on (sadly) many abused dog cases, I was myself shocked to read about the horrific details he gave MM about these dogs.

“The state they were in is just indescribable. The smell is what really hit you when you saw them. The two Adult dogs Mieki and Siku were horrendous. Both had coats completely matted with faeces and stained with urine and their nails were so long they had started to curve back on themselves. All of the dogs were like skeletons with no muscle mass at all. The younger dogs were very unsure of humans and it was pretty obvious that they’d never been handled before.”

All of the dogs were under weight and malnourished with several having to be treated for ear and eye infections. Maikai’s  coat was so badly matted that it had to be all shaved off. Everyone who is familiar with the Alaskan Malamutes knows it’s a big no to shave these dogs, because even in really hot weather their coats protect and insulate them from the heat. However that was how bad Maikai’s coat was, that it had to be shaved. Further his nails on his urine stained feet had to be clipped as they were causing him to be able to walk properly.

MAIKAIThese days there are soo many cases of abandoned and abused dogs so understandably many cases do get ‘forgotten’ or pushed aside (when they shouldn’t) however  we are determined that this story must not be forgotten. And not just because it’s such a horrible treatment of dogs but because some of the dogs still require extensive care and support as a result of their treatment at the hands of  these ” breeders.”

Further what has made this situation worse is that in 2011  the animal welfare laws in Northern Ireland were overhauled and the Animal Welfare Act was introduced providing Animal Welfare Inspectors and Police the power to enter any property and search and seize animals and makes it a criminal offence not to ensure an animal has suitable diet, suitable environment, displays suitable behaviour and is free from pain, suffering, injury and disease. However even with this legislation in place, the Welfare officers are not using it and seem reluctant to take action. Hence the tragedy of these dogs.

As John added  ” had Welfare Inspectors and the local council used the full extent of their powers the Hunters would have faced prosecution. A law will never stop people from doing wrong by animals but it will make sure they are punished.”

Malakai it seems will be a long-term resident at Benvardin due to health problems such as severe Arthritis, stage 2 Spongelousus of his spine and ADHD. He needs medication and treatment which costs

Malamute Matters currently have sponsorship of approximately £250 per month and donations were initially raised of c £5000 + donations of food, bedding, toys etc were sent. Updates are sent to those who send sponsorship money to us each month. If you would like to sponsor one of the Benvardin Malamutes please email  sponsorship is just £5 per month OR donations can be made to our paypal account

Malakai perm residentSadly there is no ‘happy ending’ to this story. Currently all the Malamutes that were dumped are still at Benvardin, further since the birth of Gerti’s pups a few months ago there are two additions

Gertie 10 month old gave birth to 3 pups

A great deal of time, effort, love and money has gone into getting these Malamutes so far, and considering the aweful condition they were in not just physically but mentally and emotionally they are making progress.. Yet their journey has only begun. More to come on this story as we do our best to find them their forever homes. These miracle dogs are also featured in this short Malamute Matters Video



3 thoughts on “Co. Antrim’s Malamute Disgrace

  1. Pingback: 2014: A year in review and what’s next ? | Malamute Matters

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