Charity saving dogs from Chinese meat trade set to continue due to emergency funding from Kennel Club Charitable Trust

The emergency relief fund set up by the UK’s biggest organisation dedicated to dog health and welfare, the Kennel Club, will help the charity to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome dogs in need, despite the pandemic

Benson, a Saint Bernard and Romeo, a Tibetan Mastiff, are two of the dogs that Saving Saints, a Lancashire based organisation, rescued from death in Chinese meat market. The charity is one of the 20 recipients of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust’s (KCCT) recently-launched emergency fund which aims to enable them, and other charities making a difference to dogs, to continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak.

After rescuing Romeo and Benson last year, Saving Saints were made more aware of the extent of the risk that meat trade poses for large dogs in China. Existing bans on large dogs in some Chinese cities means that dogs can be taken away by authorities and often are sentenced to slaughter for meat.

Both Benson and Romeo arrived at Saving Saints’ shelters in poor health condition and with sings of emotional distress. Due to various health problems, they both required urgent veterinary care. Whilst Romeo has recovered, Benson has sadly passed away from an undetected heart condition, developed during his life in China.

Rachel Wesley, Saving Saints’ secretary said: “Benson arrived in terrible physical and mental condition, which is common for meat trade dogs. He had bad skin infection, was underweight and showing clear signs of immunity system compromised by his previous life and poor nutrition. Furthermore, his heart condition couldn’t be diagnosed by regular listening and required a specialist.”

Savings Saints is now working with more local rescues in China to help save more dogs from meat trade, and also continuing their rescue efforts in the UK and other countries. Since 2013, Saving Saints have found a forever home for more than 250 dogs. Unfortunately, the ongoing situation has meant they are no longer receiving important sources of income to keep the charity going.

Rachel commented: “We are very grateful to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for its support, which will enable us to continue our efforts in saving, rehabilitating and rehoming large dog breeds. We will use the funding towards veterinary bills and other emergency fees.

"Large breed dogs such as St Bernards are more challenging to rehome with behavioural issues due to their size and strength.  They are perceived as cuddly bears but are very strong dogs.  They have a protective nature and need a lot of human companionship.  They are often surrendered due to financial difficulties as when things go wrong, veterinary care is very expensive." 

The KCCT special emergency fund, which was established in April this year, was set up to support canine organisations which may be suffering and unable to continue their vital work, which makes a huge difference to dogs, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. All received applications were considered carefully and funding was allocated to 20 organisations in the most urgent situation.

Other recipients of funds from the KCCT include breed rescue organisations such as the Northern Ireland Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club and Greyhound Rescue, as well as other general smaller dog rescue organisations, such as Friends of Animals Wales - the charity where Boris Johnson rehomed Dilyn, the Jack Russell Terrier.

Revd. Bill King, Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust said: “We have received a significant number of applications for our emergency funding and have had to make some very hard decisions on where funds need to be placed as a matter of urgency.

“Keeping these organisations, which take care of health, welfare and future of dogs from all breeds and backgrounds, functional is a priority for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. We know that most smaller organisations depend on funding to keep up their excellent work that save dogs lives, and we want to ensure they can continue despite the pandemic.

“We are also grateful for Our Dogs newspaper’s help with our appeal which is helping to grow awareness about our fund amongst their readers which have so far donated over £40,000.”

To donate online to the KCCT relief fund and help dogs, volunteers and organisations across the country during this difficult time, visit the Virgin Money Giving website. Alternatively, you can make a donation by text. Simply text ‘KCCT [amount]’ to 70450 to donate the desired amount. For example, if you wish to donate £30, simply text ‘KCCT 30’ to 70450. You will be charged your donation plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about the work of the KCCT and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to make a donation but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text ‘KCCTNOINFO [amount]’ to 70450.