Animals in Distress was born out of the local community’s desire to help pets who had lost their homes.

In 1981 Mrs Georgina Lang, Mrs Eileen Hunt and Mrs Muriel Sellick saw there was an urgent need to help dogs in the local area who could no longer be cared for by their owners.

They desperately wanted to help these pets, but without a premises or the space to look after the dogs themselves, the ladies had to pay for kenneling while they looked for new, loving homes for the dogs.

Kenneling each dog cost £3.10 a day, so fundraising soon became a priority. The ladies started selling bric-a-brac and other donated items out of Mrs Sellick’s garage.

With more and more dogs needing help, the ladies asked their friends and other animal-loving members of the community to get involved.

It wasn’t long before there was a band of cheerful and dedicated volunteers organising events, doing car boot sales and coordinating street collections. All to support more and more pets who needed help.

By 1985, the newly formed Animals in Distress charity had started taking in cats as well as dogs and was helping to find new homes for over 350 pets a year.

In 1989 Animals in Distress was officially registered with the Charity Commission and by 1993, the Board of Trustees decided that to continue increasing the number of animals we were helping, we were going to need our own premises.

Thanks to two incredibly generous legacies, the dream of having our own rescue centre became a reality. In 1993, Animals in Distress purchased a rundown greyhound kennels and by early 1994 we had moved to the Biltor site in Ipplepen where we still are today.

From humble beginnings, the charity has grown from providing temporary emergency care for dogs to taking in and re-homing over 600 cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs in South Devon every year. 

Since the beginning we have been, and continue to be, passionate about the welfare of the animals in our charge and we are dedicated to treating them with dignity and kindness. 

They are with us through no fault of their own and we are committed to keeping them healthy and secure until we find their new, forever homes. 

Created by three local ladies who had a passion to help animals in need, we have been lucky enough to have the support of the local community ever since. It’s only thanks to this support that we are able to help find perfect, forever homes for so many cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs every year.