Dog who lived muzzled in crate for years searching for loving new home

Bandit the brindle-coloured mastiff cross, shown in a muzzle like the one he was forced to wear for almost two years
Bandit was kept muzzled in a crate for years after he attacked a cat (Picture: RSPCA)

A ‘sweet and lovable’ dog who was kept muzzled in a crate for at least two years is finally free after being rescued – and he’s now looking for a very special home.

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

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‘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.’

Miranda says that Bandit ‘was a pitiful sight’ when he first came in, most likely due to the way he’d been living.
Bandit laying on a couch with his tongue wagging
RSPCA staff addressed his health issues, which included poor muscle tone and eye problems (Picture: RSPCA)

She explained: ‘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.

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‘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.’

Bandit looking at the camera
Responding well to treatment and training, Bandit is described as ‘sweet and lovable’ (Picture: RSPCA)
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 improve his muscle tone. He also underwent surgery on his eyes.

Although he’s on the mend physically, though, it’s clear that he’ll need some extra help in his new home to work through his past.

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Bandit wearing a red dog coat
He may need some extra time to get used to a normal home environment (Picture: RSPCA)
Brent Knoll deputy manager Katy Darelli said: ‘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.’

Because he’s spent so much of his life in a crate, many things are new to Bandit. As a result, he may be nervous being left home alone or in a car, and his potential owner should be mindful of gradually acclimatising him.

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Katy added: ‘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 on a walk on a winter morning as the sun rises
Could you be the person to turn poor Bandit’s life around? (Picture: RSPCA)

Bandit is a big, strong boy and staff would also 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.

Those who wish to adopt the traumatised dog should also consider how they’ll help him to adapt to a normal home environment, as he may need extra toilet training and can be vocal (particularly when he sees other dogs).

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Nonetheless, for the right person Bandit would be a perfect pet, being described as a clever boy who 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.’

Could you turn Bandit’s life around and provide him with a caring home?

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Find out more about Bandit on the RSPCA website or contact the team at Brent Knoll on [email protected] .

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