Dog who lived muzzled in crate for two years is finally free and ready for a new start

A ‘sweet and lovable’ dog who was kept muzzled in a crate for at least two years is finally free after being rescued by the RSPCA; and is looking for a very special home.

Five-year-old mastiff cross Bandit arrived at RSPCA Brent Knoll, in Somerset, in September (2021) having been rescued by Inspector Miranda Albinson.

She said: “Poor Bandit was in a real state when he first came into our care having been signed over by his owners who just couldn’t meet his needs.

“He’s a big dog but was underweight and had suffered significant hair loss around his backend as well as poor muscle tone, possibly caused by long-term malnutrition. His eyes were sunken and he was suffering from entropion; a painful condition in which the eyelid turns inwards causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye. He was a pitiful sight.

“He’d had a really tough and restricted life, having spent at least two years living in a muzzle and shut in a crate following an incident in which he attacked the resident cat. He was never given free access to the garden as it was not secure and he’d experience confrontation in the family, leaving him fearful and nervous.”

Staff gave Bandit some time to settle into kennel life and helped him put on some weight, increasing from 31.5kg to 42.5kg, and improving his muscle tone. He also underwent surgery on his eyes.

Brent Knoll deputy manager Katy Darelli said: “Although his physical condition has improved, Bandit’s experiences will stay with him for life so it’s really important that we find a special home for this sweet and lovable lad. He can be nervous meeting new people so we’d ask that his new owners continue working on socialisation training with him, including slow introductions with strangers in a controlled, safe and positive manner.

“Bandit has had very limited life experiences and has spent much of his life shut inside a crate so a lot of things in the outside world may be new to him. He may not have experienced being left home alone or been in a car so it’s important that his adopters introduce these new experiences gradually and in a positive way.

“He’s always been happy being handled and coped well with vet visits so we’d be keen that these positive experiences continue regularly in his new home to ensure he has a positive association with this.”

Bandit is a big, strong boy and staff would like to find owners with experience of owning a large breed. He cannot live with cats or other small animals and staff feel he should go to an adult-only home. He may need some help with toilet training and adapting to life in a normal home environment.

Bandit can become frustrated and vocal when he sees other dogs but is friendly when he greets them, although he can be boisterous. He may be able to live with another dog pending a successful introduction and multiple visits.

He’s a clever lad who would love to learn new skills and he enjoys eating his meals from activity feeders and playing with toys. He absolutely loves fuss from those he knows and trusts so is sure to be a loving and loyal companion.

Katy added: “Bandit had sore skin when he arrived in our care and we believe he has a flea allergy which may flare up again in the future so he will require regular flea treatment from the vets.”

Find out more about Bandit online or contact the team at Brent Knoll on enquiries@rspcanorthsomerset.org.uk.