Then I met my team leader. She was in the middle of doing a bleed with another member of staff. I was shocked at what I saw and thought it was quite barbaric. The holder was sitting on a stool with the dog to her right hand side also sitting on the chair. She used her right hand to hold the dog’s front legs down and keep the dog tight to her body. Her left hand was used to hold the dog’s muzzle upwards so that the neck was clearly visible to the technician taking the blood. The dogs were struggling and whimpering as the needle was stabbed and plunged in and out of their necks. I found it very difficult to watch. The trainee technician was trying to reassure the dog but it didn’t work at all.
She took me round where my team worked and I was shown the units where the dogs were, which was building J24. There were nine units my side, each unit holding a maximum of 32 dogs. Some units were empty. There were five full-time staff and one part-timer. I was shown the day books. Everything that happens in a unit each day is recorded in time in the day book, from the first time anyone goes in the unit, right through each procedure to the last thing done in there that day. When the dogs first arrive at HLS they have a number tattooed in their ear. The dog is put into the right pen, then within a few days of being there, the HLS number is tattooed into their other ear. Most dogs hate this and have to be held tight to do it. Some even mess themselves because they are so scared.
Sometimes you’d get a group of people, like 4 or 5 people, holding a dog still for a procedure and it’d always be whimpering. It’s bad enough for me to watch and I understand what’s going on, they haven’t got a clue what’s happening...it’s really horrible.
The team leader called the vets as the dogs were underactive. The vet
came in the afternoon and suggested the dogs be given tablets in their
water to help them as they were dehydrating. They weren’t eating
either. The vet suggested something else to help them, I don’t know
what. We were never told anything like that. The study director came over
and the NACWO came in to see the dogs.
When I went in the next day, one of the dogs was dead in his pen. I went
beserk and was told to go and get a coffee whilst the team leader, NACWO,
vets and study directors sorted everything.
Some dogs were not happy to be bled and they would struggle and not sit
still. The licence holder would pull them around by the scruff, shout
at them, and sometimes even used to pick the dog up off the chair by its
scruff and have it dangling whilst they shouted at it. It could be a very
Urine cages: Depending on the study, at different times throughout the
study the dogs would be put into urine cages. These were very small cages,
with hardly enough room for them to turn round. They were on a tray with
holes in it so the urine went down the tiny holes, into a hole in the
middle of the cage and down into a pot. The dogs were put into the cages
at 4pm in the afternoon and taken out of the cages at about 8.40am the
Every study that I took the dogs down on had to have bone marrow taken.
When the dog was put to sleep, you’d be sitting on a long work top.
The dog would have its front feet on me and back legs and bottom on the
On a night out someone from necropsy was boasting about cutting the head
open and sawing through the bone to get to the brain and how the smell
of blood made them hungry. They admitted that not only one dog was put
in a bin bag, odd parts here and there ended up with another dog. Vans
came to collect the dogs at night and took them to be burned. it always
made me really sad knowing that these dogs went to be incinerated not
even as a whole animal...