Leading dog charity Dogs Trust announced today (1 November) that CEO Adrian Burder has died. Burder, formerly Dogs Trust’s Marketing Director, had become its CEO in November 2014. He worked for the charity for over 20 years. 

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm that our much loved CEO, Adrian Burder, has died unexpectedly following a short illness. Our thoughts are with his family at this most difficult time,” says Jim Monteith, Acting CEO.

“Adrian was one of a kind – his passion for animal welfare changed the lives of millions of dogs in the 24 years he was at Dogs Trust. He will be terribly missed by staff, trustees and volunteers past and present and we are so grateful for his immeasurable contribution to making the world a better place for man’s best friend.

“We are all still letting this tragic news sink in. Adrian has been an integral part of our charity for so many years, as a hugely successful fundraiser and then as CEO since 2014. Adrian is Dogs Trust and we will continue our work in his memory.”

Adrian’s achievements

  • Adrian joined National Canine Defence League in 1994 and was instrumental in its rebrand to Dogs Trust and its success now as a leading animal welfare charity (recently named the third popular charity by Millennials, YouGov and with 75% of the general public aware of the organisation)
  • Adrian was responsible for fundraising, and ultimately grew its income from £3m to £100m so that more dogs can have happy lives free from the threat of unnecessary destruction – our mission.
  • He was instrumental in the success of the dog sponsorship idea, an idea that revolutionised our fundraising, and for encouraging people to leave legacies to the charity.
  • He became CEO in November 2014 and has said: “I’m obsessive about the charity. Having the chance to lead an organisation you love is a great honour.”
  • His early career included roles at the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), and at the TV licensing department of the Post Office.
  • His work, alongside others, helped make microchipping mandatory. Prior to this legal requirement dogs would often become strays and end up at local pounds where they may be put to sleep unnecessarily. At that time microchipping was a costly expense for some. He strongly felt that microchipping should be available to all and raised the funds to ensure that this became a reality. Making the funds available gave Defra the impetus to make microchipping a mandatory requirement.
  • Adrian understood that the major challenge for the future of dog welfare is in helping people better understand their dogs. Under his direction the charity now has 165 experts in training, behaviour and research and 29 Dog Schools set up to educate dog owners so they can help prevent problem behaviours. He wanted one of his legacies to be for the dog world to have a better understanding of dog behaviour, and that’s exactly what Dogs Trust is doing.
  • A true Welshman at heart an important part of Adrian’s legacy will be our new Cardiff rehoming centre, due to open in 2020, to help with the city’s stray dog problem.
  • Adrian’s Celtic roots made their way to Ireland where he became Chairman of Dogs Trust Ireland in 2014 . Since the charity began its work in 2005 there has been a 94% decrease in the number of dogs put to sleep in Irish Pounds, over 7,000 rescue dogs have been rehomed, almost 330,000 children have learned about responsible dog ownership and dog welfare and over 115,000 dogs have been neutered and almost 31,000 dogs microchipped. 
  • Adrian wanted to ensure our expertise benefitted dogs overseas and so set up Dogs Trust Worldwide, awarding grants to other organisations, running conferences where we share our expertise. He was in his element talking to people from all over the world at ICAWC conferences and sharing inspiring success stories.
  • Adrian was much beloved by staff and trustees – we have been receiving heartfelt condolences from the staff in our rehoming centres to testify – and he will be sorely missed.

Image by Dogs Trust.

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