PAWS rescue has two months to find a new premises – or close down

PAWS rescue risks closure

I think we have all have had that dream – you know the one, where we would buy a piece of land and just rescue every dog and let them run free. For Susan Curran that dream became a reality in 2007, but now it is at risk of being shattered prematurely, leaving thousands of dogs and cats with no one to rescue them.

In February this year, we at PAWS (Pennine Animal Welfare Society) received the devastating news that our landlord wanted us to leave our current premises by 5 August. We have been looking for new land for a while now as we operate out of one small barn, but six months does not leave us a lot of time to find new land – never mind transport all our animals and make it a home. Four months later we still have nowhere to go.

In the UK an estimated 2.7 million animals enter rescues every year with 1.2 million being cats and 664,00 being dogs. If we, a small grassroots organisation, were to close, where would that leave some of those animals? On average it takes four days for a shelter to reach full capacity and that’s very much our reality.

Aside from the impact on the animals, the closure of our rescue would leave a tangible human impact as well. Sue lives on site with three long term foster dogs – George, Skye and Maddie. The dogs could not be re homed for various reasons and even though Sue lives in a small caravan on-site, she still would rather take them in herself than leave them homeless and without a family.

Sue devotes her time 24/7 to these animals, often staying up all night with a new arrival who won’t settle, or helping a mother birth her babies in stressful conditions – she does it all with very little pay. We currently operate out of one barn with room for 10 dogs and 10 cats. We rely on large water tanks to provide us with rainwater as there is no running water, we have no office space, and we make do with just volunteers to run the whole operation.

Our dream for the future is to be able to have separate catteries and kennels, to be able to have more outdoor space for the cats and dogs, and to set up a memorial garden where people can remember their beloved pets.

PAWS has volunteers who are working with us as they have been signed off work for stress, we have students from the local college come every Monday to help us look after the animals and we would love to hire more staff to be able to offer more support to those with additional needs.

We are a key part of our community offering events and opportunities for small businesses to promote their products, so it would be a huge blow to a lot of people if our dream was to end.

We need to find 2-4 acres of land and raise an eye watering £80k to be able to continue our rescue work. Can you help?

You can donate to the PAWS fundraising here.

This is a guest post by Erin Mcilhatton. Want to write for us? Visit or email


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