THE dastardly dalmatian snatcher Cruella de Vil has returned in the form of a two-tone Emma Stone to send shivers down dog lovers spines.
But while the fur coated villain is a fictional Disney character, in real life the spotty breed suffers terrible cruelty at the hands of heartless owners.
In Spain dalmatians are considered to be lucky due to their spots.
Yet every year hundreds are dumped at pounds close to death or are used as ‘bait’ in dog fights.
Having learned of their plight a group of Brits are helping to rescue the floppy-eared hounds from their misery abroad.
In the past year alone the organisation called Save a Spanish Spot has helped 119 dalmatians.
Elli Sibthorpe has helped rescue 119 dalmatians in the past year[/caption]
The trauma they have faced includes being shot with a pellet gun and losing an eye.
For the past five years Elli Sibthorpe, from County Durham, has run the association that takes emaciated and badly injured dogs from pounds in Spain.
It then helps to pay for vets fees, seeks out caring new owners and organises transport to Britain.
Elli, a 48-year-old dog groomer, told The Sun last night: “Their condition is horrific, I have seen dalmatians that are used as bait dogs, with one called Pongo having his whole face ripped apart.
“A lot are very underweight and diseased. If we didn’t take them a lot of them would be dead.”
Dalmatians were originally bred as hunting dogs, before being used to run alongside carriages.
A lot of the dogs would have died if they hadn’t been rescued[/caption]
That means they have a lot of energy and need regular long walks.
According to the European Society of Dog and Animal Welfare some Spanish hunters starve hunting dogs in order to make them hungrier for their prey.
And Elli thinks that the low cost of buying dalmatian pups in Spain means owners are more likely to cast them aside than they are in Britain.
She explains: “During the pandemic the price of a dalmatian puppy has gone from £900 to over £2,000 in Britain and at that price they are less likely to be dumped.
“But it is 50 to 80 Euros to buy one in Spain and so owners just dump them.”
There are hopes that the plight of pets will ease in Spain because last month the government passed laws recognising domestic animals as “living beings” and strengthened protections against cruelty.
That would be good for Elli whose caseload almost doubled last year, jumping from 64 dogs to 119.
Dalmations are starring in Disney film Cruella[/caption]
Elli lives in a small terraced house, so she is unable to look after all the dogs herself.
Instead, they are kept with various foster carers in Spain until they can be found a new home.
She says: “There are a lot of good Spanish people who want to help and some vets give us special rates.”
Kindly Brits then help transport them here after the paperwork is completed.
At the moment there are 70 under the organisation’s care.
There is no way Elli could cope with 101 of them.
She says: “I love them to bits. They are extremely loving, they sit on your lap, they are very loyal, but not easy.
“They don’t like changes to their routine and they don’t mature until they are three years old, so they are not an easy breed to look after.”
She decided to take in Lina, a spotty dog with a limp who had been placed on the put to sleep list at a Spanish pound.
The market for dalmatians is sure to rise how that Cruella, which also stars Emma Thompson and Mark Strong, is a box office hit.
“When the last 101 Dalmatians film came out there was a rise in demand for them across Europe,” Elli says.
Elli sees a lot of her pups adopted by English owners who want a dog[/caption]
Save a Spanish Spot’s Facebook page has over 5,000 members and word is spreading about its good work.
Across Britain people have stepped up to the plate to rehome the damaged dalmatians.
Here we speak to some women who are dotty about dalmatians:
Sallie Barnes, 31, who works for a pet food company in Somerset
“When I came across Pongo’s story I literally burst into tears – he had been treated so terribly.
“It broke my heart, the vet told Save a Spanish Spot that he had been used as a bait dog because he was covered in bite marks and his eyeball had been damaged in one of the attacks.
“He had to have a couple of eye operations and we worried he wouldn’t pull through.
“Understandably, when he arrived with us in 2017 he was very nervous and stayed by the front door for five hours.
The new film has seen a spike in popularity for the spotty dogs[/caption]
“Pongo is a totally different dog now, he’s a happy, cheeky, gentle boy.
“We also have a dalmatian called Dolly, who we’d had from a pup.”
Vicki Meacher, 65, who runs a hotel in Saundersfoot, Wales
“I have loved dalmatians ever since I was a kid, they have great personalities and are great with kids.
“I had three dalmatian rescues and said no more. And then we saw Hannah and said we’d have her if she survives.
“When Save a Spanish Spot’s vets got hold of her she’d been attacked by other dogs in the pound and her lungs were 90 percent infected.
“We think she might be a dwarf dalmatian.
The Dalmatians get medical treatment curtsey of the charity before being rehomed[/caption]
“Max, Byron, Soux and Hannah are our current dalmatians. They are all rescues, we had five for a while, but I would draw the line at six.”
Heidi Hope, 42, who works at a college in Perth and Kinross, Scotland
“I love dalmatians because they are big, bouncy creatures, they are gorgeous and have good personalities.
“It is remarkable how many dalmatians need our help.
“I have got four dalmatians, all boys, two of which came from Save a Spanish Spot.
“Silver, who we think is about four, had been a street dog and was very undernourished and had a few bald patches.
“Kiro struggled to get adopted because he is an older dog, but he is lovely.
“I’d have more if I could.”
Charlotte Piercy, 39, a care worker from Newquay, Cornwall.
“I came across the very emaciated and sad looking dog called Phoenix on Save a Spanish Spot and thought I want to adopt him.
“He is amazingly friendly, which is remarkable to me because there isn’t one part of his body that doesn’t have scars on.
“He has been shot, when I took him for an X-ray they discovered he still had pellets in him.
The dogs are rescued from Spain to save them from being killed[/caption]
“I cried my eyes out when I saw that at the vets.
“From what I was told Phoenix had been dumped at the pound in the north of Spain.
“I had a dalmatian in the past, but he is the only one I have now.”
For more information about how you can help, visit dalmatianrescue.co.uk
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