Twenty-four puppies found on the M6 are nursed back to health

Twenty-four sick and starving puppies found crammed into the back of a van on the M6 are nursed back to health and given new homes with police staff

  • More than 40 dogs were found crammed in crates on the M6 during the summer
  • Gloucestershire Police think the dogs had been on a journey from a puppy farm
  • Though some of the puppies died, the rest have been rehomed with police 

Twenty-four puppies discovered in squalid conditions in the back of a van have been rehomed with the police officers who rescued them. 

More than 40 dogs including chihuahua crosses, border collies and beagles were found crammed in crates in August, all in poor health.

Two concerned members of the public had called the police after witnessing a concerning scene in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

A van was then stopped on the M6 with the malnourished animals packed inside – all suffering without food or water.

Police initially believed the dogs, aged between five and eight weeks, had been stolen but now think they had been on a journey from a puppy farm. 

Several of the puppies died due to their shocking treatment – but 24 were nursed back to health and have now been rehomed within the policing family.


Twenty-four puppies discovered in squalid conditions in the back of a van have been rehomed with the police officers who rescued them (Left, Riley. Right, Nova)



Two concerned members of the public had called the police after witnessing a concerning scene in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (Left, Charlie Brown. Centre, Twiglet. Right, Gus)



Police initially believed the dogs, aged between five and eight weeks, had been stolen but now think they had been on a journey from a puppy farm (Left, Finn. Centre, Freddie. Right, Keo)

More than 40 dogs including chihuahua crosses, border collies and beagles were found crammed in crates in August, all in poor health

Gloucestershire Constabulary, which led the operation, added that several had been adopted by those involved in the rescue effort.

DCI Claire Nutland said: ‘I would like to send a huge thanks to Wood Animal Hospital and Rushwood Kennels in Gloucestershire, and White House Vets and Brookend Kennels in Malvern.

‘Their considerable assistance since the summer has been fantastic and thoroughly appreciated.

‘A special thanks also needs to go to local behaviourist Estelle Vickery of Little Paws Behaviour and Training, who donated a significant amount of her time free of charge to conduct home checks and provide support to ensure the puppies had the best start in their new rescue homes after the worst start to their lives.



Several of the puppies died – but 24 were nursed back to health and have now been rehomed within the policing family (Left, Cosmo. Centre, Joey. Right, Clover)



Gloucestershire Constabulary, which led the operation, added that several had been adopted by those involved in the rescue effort (Left, Max. Centre, Mabel. Right, Norbert)


Twenty-four puppies discovered in squalid conditions in the back of a van have been rehomed with the police officers who rescued them (Left, Lucy. Right, Bailee)

‘Finally, the Constabulary would like to thank the members of the public that took the time to report this incident.

‘Without their help, these puppies would have been delivered all over the country and many more would have died without urgent veterinary care.

‘It is vital that people report suspicious activity to the police and animal cruelty or neglect to the RSPCA in order to tackle this global problem.’

Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl added: ‘A compassionate approach to all animals is not in the police and crime plan by accident. It is because the Chief Constable and I take it very seriously.


Two concerned members of the public had called the police after witnessing a concerning scene in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (Left, Iko. Right, Archie)


Police initially believed the dogs, aged between five and eight weeks, had been stolen but now think they had been on a journey from a puppy farm (Left, Cubby. Right, Charlie)

‘This is a story with a happy ending but it could just as easily have gone the other way.

‘I hope it encourages people that if they spot signs of animal cruelty or neglect to come forward as their concerns will be properly investigated by the Constabulary.’  

Puppy farms are commercial breeders where multiple dogs are continually bred from, and the puppies sold for profit.

They are kept in poor conditions, often not health tested prior to breeding, or health checked after birth, and are rarely vaccinated.

They are placed under a great deal of stress during transport and are usually malnourished, meaning they are more likely to fall ill.

The adult and new born puppies rarely have any interaction with people or normal family homes, and so are poorly socialised which can lead to behavioural problems in the future.

A man was arrested in connection with the incident after the van was stopped earlier this year.

The probe into the 24-year-old, from Durham, is ongoing, police said.

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