AN ANIMAL sanctuary boss has blasted cruel pet owners who left their dogs for dead.

During the past month Sheila Stewart, who runs Capricorn Animal Rescue in Padeswood, has come to the rescue of several defenceless dogs abandoned by their owners.

Last month the dog warden picked up a golden retriever found wandering the streets of Mold.

It is thought she had been used as a ‘breeding machine’.

The bitch, which has now been named Polly, had protruding ribs and was suffering from open wounds all over her body.

Mrs Stewart said: “She was severely emaciated and covered in urine scalds and had no fur on her tail. She had sores all over her.

“We think she had just been used for breeding and then dumped.”

Staff are also caring for a terrier-type dog they suspect was abandoned by a passing motorist.

Mrs Stewart added: “I had a call from a lady up the road who said there was a little dog hiding behind her flower pot. It was absolutely terrified. She was scrunched up in a little ball – how long she had been there I don’t know.

“She wouldn’t come out for anyone. She was shaking and drooling with fear.” The dog, who has been named Emma and now has a new home lined up, had been too frightened even to sleep in a kennel at the sanctuary.

“She’s coming round a bit now,” said Mrs Stewart, “but she’s very confused.

“You can see it in her eyes: she’s thinking, why am I here, what have I done wrong?”

Mrs Stewart, who currently has 11 dogs at the sanctuary, has also taken in a German Shepherd which was found chained to a lamp-post in Connah’s Quay with a huge tumour on her body.

She added: “The past month has been absolutely horrific. We have even had a little whippet come in that was so emaciated I could fit my hands round her.”

She suspects the increase in dumped dogs is down to the troubled economic climate.

“Things are getting worse and it’s because of the credit crunch,” she said.

“People are losing their homes and can’t afford their dogs anymore.”

Research by dog rehoming website has found the number of puppies abandoned has doubled in the past 12 months.

Website co-founder and former dog trainer Ryan O'Meara said: “Financial hardship and relationship breakdowns are the two most commonly cited reasons for dog abandonment and this has become especially pronounced over the past two years as people have been hit by the recession.”

If you can offer any of the dogs at Capricorn a home call the sanctuary on 01244 547938.