Somerset & Dorset Animal Rescue
There are not many people who can claim to have saved the lives of over 34,000 animals but Liz and Colin Stewart of the Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue Centre can certainly do so. In the 30 years of running a rescue centre they have managed to home a wide range of animals and birds and give each one a bright new future.
Find out who we are and what we do
Somerset & Dorset Animal Rescue Centre – and how it all began
Their story started back in 1980 when, calling themselves the Dorset Animal Rescue, they would be sent photos of dogs in Liverpool that were due to be euthanized. They then pleaded with friends and contacts to offer these dogs a home and the long weekly trip was undertaken to collect them. Over 5,000 dogs were homed. News travelled, and before too long they were also doing weekly drives, with teams of volunteers, to Wales to rescue the ever increasing numbers of animals which, after only a week in the dog pound, would be euthanized. Each week they travelled all over Wales collecting the dogs and, with the numbers increasing, they invested in a transit van and up to 45 dogs a week would be brought back to Dorset for re-homing.
The Rescue continued to grow with other animals and birds joining the family. But it was not just re-homing that the Stewarts spent their time doing. They both fearlessly campaigned for animal rights and many a march or picket line saw them adding their support. When, in 1997, they found out that 50 beagles, bred by a company supplying dogs for vivisection, were due to be sent abroad they borrowed £15,000 to save them. If this was not enough they then raised a further £37,000 to save an additional 127. This campaign attracted a lot of publicity, helped by the final £8,000 paid by the Daily Mirror when Liz sold them the story.
For the next three years their attention turned to saving battery hens and they raised enough money to buy 15,500 from the farmers for which they then found homes. In 1999 they moved the Rescue to its present location and the Dorset Animal Rescue became the Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue.
In 2002 it was New Forest ponies they were saving. Every animal, large or small, is worth saving.
Two years later saw Liz heading to Sri Lanka following the 2004 tsunami, to rescue a number of dogs. A year later she started fund raising to help set up SOS Sri Lanka so that sick and injured animals could be taken off the streets and given a home in a wonderful four acre purpose built rescue.
All this work could not go unrewarded and in 2007 Liz was invited to the House of Lords to receive the award for International Animal Rescuer of the Year. There could not have been a more deserving recipient.
Which brings us to 2017. The Rescue is, as always, overflowing with dogs, cats, ponies, chickens and rabbits. Each day brings a new arrival and the veterinary fees and food bills keep mounting. Liz and Colin are helped by a very small, but dedicated group of volunteers – there are no paid staff here so fund raising and donations are very important.
Whilst there are animals homeless, suffering or in need Liz and Colin, together with their team, will continue to work tirelessly.
Meet The Team
Runs the Cattery
What People Say
Just to let you know that Teddie is settling in really well, he is such a well behaved boy and loves playing in the garden, being let off the lead in the dog park and his new bed! We are so happy to have him, our boys love him to bits and he is really good with them having lots of love and cuddles.
As you can see Penguin, Humphrey and Jasper are relaxing in their new home! They have settled in well, are keeping us on our toes with their antics and quick moves, and have just started exploring the garden. We love them! Thank you for all the good work you do rescuing pets
We would just like to say a huge thank you to Sam and Rosemary for introducing tori into our lives. Tori is incredibly affectionate and loves to cuddle up at bed time!!! Although we have to watch our ankles during the day! Tori is such a character we love her to bits, thank you again.
We’ve had our lovely Jasper for 4 years and he is now 8 years old. When he came to us he was quite nervous and use to get in bed by 7pm every night, but not long after he settled in he got his own ‘seat’ on our sofa which is always next to his mum. Jasper loves his food, cuddles and sunbathing! We hope Jasper has a very long and happy life with us 🙂
Just to let you know how well daisy – now Dulcie (Spanish for sweet one) is doing. She has the run of the garden and we take her on long walks each day, she has made best friends with the horse in the paddock! She isn’t properly house trained yet with some accidents, which is the only negative but we all love her.