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.

About us

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

Liz & Colin
Liz & Colin

Shelter Owners

Liz and Colin started rescuing animals nearly 40 years ago calling themselves Dorset Animal Rescue.  They moved to Balsam Farm in 1999 and renamed themselves the Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue Centre...

Runs the Cattery

Sam started running the cattery for Liz in 2000 and two years ago took over the management of it.  Sam’s Stray Cat Rescue currently has over 40 residents and when Sam is...

What People Say

Want to get involved?

Contact us
Skip to content