An animal rescue group which saves abandoned cats and dogs in Turkey has been granted charity status.
Animal Friends of Turkey was launched last year by Richmond resident Carol Holbrook.
Carol decided to act after buying an apartment in the south west of the country 13 years ago and seeing the plight of dogs and cats living on the streets.
She said: “I used to fundraise for the local street animal charity as we had befriended some cats on the complex from kittens. I felt it was giving something back by fundraising to help them.
“This drew me more into the world of the street animals and how hard it was for them.
“I heard about two huskies who had been badly abused and it touched me so much that I raised the funds needed to bring them to the UK. I contacted a husky rescue in this country to help rehome them. These were my first rescues.”
In the first 11 months the group has rescued 45 animals, including 35 dogs and ten cats, some of which have been rehomed in Richmondshire.
Carol said: “We are a not for profit charity totally reliant on donations and fundraising.
“We have gained UK charity status in our first year which we are very proud of and this will lead onto being able to help more and more animals.”
Carol said she often gets asked why she rescued animals in Turkey when their are animals in need of help in the UK.
“Over here the dogs are not starving on the streets or dying in the shelters from disease. Parvo and distemper is rife in all these areas and the abuse is horrific.
“We have just taken yesterday a little pug cross which is ten months old. He cruelly had his tail hacked off right to the end, then was thrown out. This is not unusual.”
The cost to get each animal to the UK is between £1,000 and £1500.
Carol added: “This is our challenge — raising enough money to meet the need and demand. We have had 18 applications in the last month through our website alone and this is set to rise.”
To find out more about the charity visit https://rehome-a-rescue-dog.co.uk/