Liz Haslam set up Beds For Bullies in Barnham near Thetford, Norfolk in 2012. Beds For Bullies specialises in helping to rescue and rehome bull breeds, particularly English Bull Terriers, many of whom have been abused or used as bait dogs.
Liz runs a boarding kennels Can I Wag Your Tail Kennels to help fund the work of Beds For Bullies.
Liz dedicates her life to helping animals and works closely with police forces and animal rescue groups. She also offers a fostering service and cares for 16 bull terriers which cannot be re-homed. These include Dotty and Della who both suffered horrific injuries after being used in sickening dog fights. Liz nursed them back to health and they remain healthy and happy in her care.
DOTSTER'S STORY - The bait dog that survived
Some of you may have read the story about Dot in the Boxing Day 2011 issue of The Mirror newspaper, and we thank them enormously for highlighting what had happened to him – and the happy outcome.
Found seriously injured and terrified in a coal bunker in Nottingham on November 1st by a local authority dog warden who had been called to the scene, Dot was so weak that he could not move. He had severe leg wounds and septicaemia, could not lift his head, and could just about wag his tail. It was not thought that he would survive. He was taken to a local dog pound and Liz was contacted and came to the rescue. They wanted him out of the pound because he was seen as a fighting dog and he wasn’t a pretty sight for families coming to visit to look at other dogs. He was about to die but Nottinghamshire council wanted him out of the area because of his background.
The wound on his leg was 7-10 days old and the vets gave him 48 hours to live. It also looks as though a red hot poker has been laid down his back – all the hair is gone. He has a scar from shoulder to shoulder and another around his belly. The vet said that this could have been done in the dog fighting ring and that he had just been stitched back up with whatever came to hand. They sometimes use fish hooks. Dark patches on his back could have come from hot oil or grease being chucked over him. He is a very placid dog and they were probably trying to get him agitated and get on with fighting. We believe that he had been used as a bait dog, but his injuries had got so bad that they decided to give up on him. There was a possibility that Dot would have to have his leg amputated, but he was not well enough to have the operation. Since then, Mother Nature, lots of TLC and veterinary skills are doing their jobs. It will take months for the nerve endings in his leg to come back, but he is getting there.
Liz is now campaigning to get dog fighting outlawed once and for all and thinks that many don't realise it is still going on. These people won’t pay for a bait dog – they use dogs that are stolen or picked up free from various websites, and they will use anything that they can lay their hands on. There is a lot of money to be made out of dog fighting, but it must be stopped. Much of it is tied up with bare knuckle fighting, drugs and prostitution, but the police do not seem interested and we need to find a way of making them take action. Another problem is that many local authorities no longer have dog wardens because of cut backs, and that does not help.
We believe that compulsory micro chipping for all dogs is a great step forward because at least there is some traceability. However if they are going to be effective, these new laws have to be adequately enforced. We also think that websites such as Gumtree and Facebook should ban the selling of animals. No one should be permitted to advertise a living creature on platforms like these when vulnerable dogs are being advertised as either free or cheap and then ending up in the hands of people who constantly monitor these sites looking for free/cheap dogs to use as bait dogs in dog fighting.
It is quite rare to find a bait dog that is still alive – Dot is one of the lucky ones and we must make sure there are no more.
Della bears the terrible scars of her former life as a bait dog. She was dumped outside a nursing home where she managed to crawl to the entrance where a policeman called Derek found her. Derek picked her up to move her to safety and she gently licked his face. It was suggested that Della should be put to sleep but Lozza's Lurchers stepped in and started an appeal for an experienced rescue to take care of her and since then she has been in long term care at Beds for Bullies and a will see out her days there living life exactly as she chooses.
Eric was rescued from Turkey. He had been shot in the head and was found running round a refugee camp. Eric was believed to have been used for dog fighting in Turkey. He arrived at BedsForBullies after Liz raised £2,500 to bring him to the UK. "We knew his eyesight was failing and he'd been shot in the face, but we were told there were only a few pieces of shrapnel left and there was nothing that could be done for his eyes." After a lump developed, vets thought Eric may have a tooth abscess. The jaw swelling was being caused by part of another dog's tooth still embedded in Eric. However, X-rays revealed the rather traumatic results pictured below showing the pellets in his head. Vets said it would be too dangerous and painful to remove the shot, so Eric is destined to live out his days with Liz and the other ex-fighting dogs deemed unsuitable for rehoming because of their injuries. "He's virtually blind but it doesn't seem to faze him whatsoever," Liz says
Vet bills to date for Eric have reached £4,000.
Because of the remarkable work she's done, police also contacted BedsForBullies and re-homed another bait dog ETTA, three, with Liz.
The police initailly asked Liz to have Etta for a week as they found her aggressive and were not coping well with her at their kennels. If, after a week, Etta was still not coping they would collect her and have her euthanatised. Liz found that Etta was aggressive but this was mainly down to being misunderstood and Liz has successfully worked on her triggers.
The guy who used Etta for dog fighting was prosecuted. He was Fighting both Etta and a Staffie and he was sentenced to 20 in weeks prison serving only 10 days! Etta is an amazing dog with a huge personality and very special to Liz and BedsForBullies. She has been through so much and, although the ultimate prison term was woeful, Etta's case is one of the only successful dog fighting prosecution stories the police have had!
DAVE, a more recent arrival from Italy, was shot in the face and had his tail chopped off and had been living in a van for months. These photos may be distressing but they show the amazing work done by Liz.
NIAMH who was rescued from France. She was about to be put to sleep after being born with disconnected bones in her front leg.
ERNIE, now fully grown, came to Liz when he was just four weeks old. He’d been dumped by the side of a bin in the hope he'd be thrown away like rubbish. He needed a hernia operation and Liz bottle fed him back to health.
BOUDICCA, now four, had her leg amputated when she was just ten days old. As it was removed so early, her other leg couldn’t form properly, but thanks to Liz taking her for hydrotherapy it’s strong again.
Little WIDGET is a Bullie and Jack Russell cross. He was a stray who found his way to Liz after he saved a drunk man from drowning in a river.
MOLLY is deaf and lost her eye due to an ulcer. Liz took her from Manchester Dog’s Home after the devastating fire in 2014. Molly loves BETTY who has also lost an eye and was rescued from a stables.
Liz has two more deaf dogs, DODGER and mini EBT ENID, and SHEILA, who she rescued from France who needs surgery on her hip.
Her oldest Bullie is PIXIE, aged 17, and finally, her guard dog is feisty SKYE who came to Liz as her owners couldn’t care for her.