FOUR husky pups rescued from ‘pitiful’ conditions earlier this year celebrated their first birthday yesterday — in new homes.

The puppies and their mum were taken to the Sibes and Sled Dogs Husky Rescue Centre, in Nelson, in February after they were rescued from Liverpool, where they had been locked in a crate for 23 hours a day.

John Duxbury, who has been running the centre for a year with his partner Christine, said it was the worst case he had ever come across.

More than 50 applications to rehome the dogs were received, and all have now recovered from their ordeal in new homes in Oswaldtwistle, Burnley, Blackpool, Preston and Morecambe.

Mr Duxbury said: “They are totally unrecognisable now from when they came in. They have come on in leaps and bounds.

“When they arrived we thought one of the puppies was going to die but she is now probably the strongest one of the four.

“I slept on the settee with that one for around a month to help get her through.

“They have all turned out really well though, they’re now young adult pups settled in their new homes.

“We have regular walks and a lot of the new owners come back so we see them quite a bit, and it’s great to see how they are developing and growing.”

All the dogs have been named, with the mum called Megan and the pups Tikaani, Luna, Freya and Blue.

The dogs were re-homed gradually over the summer so they could get used to being apart.

Yesterday the mum and pups were re-united for a special birthday celebration in Blackpool.