Stray Aid - A Stray Dog's Best Friend - Charity No. 1117372Registered with Fund Raising Regulator
0300 999 4247
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About Us

Stray Aid was founded in 2006 by John and Sue Bielby, with the main aim of helping local councils reduce the number of stray dogs being destroyed. Sue qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1983 because she wanted to help sick and injured animals. She was aware that from time to time a “stray dog” had to be destroyed, but had absolutely no idea the extent of the problem in her area. In 2005, in her capacity as a veterinary surgeon, it came to her attention that literally hundreds of stray dogs were being destroyed in County Durham every year, regardless of age or state of health.

Following a lot of heart-searching, John and Sue decided to try and see if they could influence the dreadful situation. When they were told repeatedly that it was none of their business and there was nothing they could do about it, they decided they could not just sit back and do nothing, they had to take action.

John and Sue spoke to friends and family, who were very supportive of their desire to help. They managed to get enough money together to rent 10 kennels, for 6 months, and paid up front. They negotiated with 2 local dog pounds to receive 2 dogs a week that were due to be destroyed. Previously, if a dog was not collected by its owner during the statutory 7 days, or a new owner could not be found within that time, a stray dog was put to sleep to make room for the new dogs coming in.

A small veterinary clinic was rented on Langley Moor High Street, with the first Stray Aid rescue kennels being rented at the former Blue Acres Boarding Kennels site at Coxhoe from Mr Gordon Snowdon, without whose generous help and support the charity would not have been able to have rescued its first dog. 

The stray dogs were checked over at Sue’s veterinary practice, then vaccinated, neutered, microchipped and treated for fleas and worms. These dogs were all successfully rehomed, with the exception of 2 dogs who had a very poor quality of life, and the kindest thing for those dogs was, sadly, to put them to sleep.

John and Sue found dog rescue very rewarding, and support for their work was growing. They had to make a big decision, did they leave it there, in the certain knowledge that many healthy, rehomable dogs would be destroyed? Or did they keep doing what they were doing knowing that if there were 10 dogs in the kennels, the 11th dog would certainly be destroyed? So, after much discussion and encouragement from friends and family, they made the massive decision to tender for a council contract – and won!

Gradually more and more stray dogs were being brought to the kennels, and Stray Aid had no alternative but to keep expanding – there was no turning back! John gave up his job and Sue moved her veterinary surgery to the rescue centre so the dogs did not need to be moved around for surgical procedures, and could receive immediate veterinary care when they needed it.

Stray Aid has evolved by necessity, and has grown from taking in 2 dogs a week to over 1,000 dogs a year. From this very modest start, the charity continued to rent premises at Coxhoe until 2015, when it commenced a staged buy-out of the kennel and cattery site and started developing its new rescue centre.

John and Sue’s passion was preventing the euthanasia of healthy strays. In September 2006 we were contacted by a country pub. A black and white cat that they had called Frank, had moved in a couple of years previously. He was friendly and healthy, but unfortunately Council Environmental Health Officers decided that either he had to be “removed” or they would have to close the pub. As all the local cat rescues were full, this put Frank at risk of death, so we decided to see if we could find a rescue space for him in the quarantine area of the on-site boarding cattery. He was a real sweetheart, and he was easily rehomed. Subsequently various other cats were brought to us, all in danger of being put to sleep, which we managed to find new homes for. At that time, our web designer was creating our logo. He photographed his own dog and his own cat, and the logo was born!

For a couple of years the charity lost its rescue cattery. Thankfully as part of our on-going staged site purchase the charity has a rescue cattery again. We very often find that cats taken in as strays have loving owners frantically looking for them, so for the time being, we are concentrating our resources on unwanted cats, in the hope that this will prevent them from becoming strays.

Stray Aid is an animal welfare-based organisation whose primary aim is to stop rehomeable stray dogs and cats from being put down. We increase public awareness to the plight of unwanted animals, providing information on what to do if you lose or find a dog or cat, who to contact and how to get help. We are creating a network to facilitate the exchange of dogs around the country. We provide and maintain a safe and secure environment for our strays until such time as our dogs can be rehomed. In addition, Stray Aid subsidises a veterinary surgeon to provide necessary veterinary treatment for unowned animals.

We need your help. Please Support Us. This is a very exciting time for the charity. We are raising funds to continue our development of the original boarding kennels into the new Stray Aid Animal Welfare Centre. This will complement our existing facilities, allowing us to expand and modernise the Stray Aid rescue shelter.

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Published 15/09/2019
Thank you so much! Your help has ensured that the dogs in our care are not only safe and well looked after but also, during the colder months, they are kept warm and cozy too! After a particularly harsh winter in 2017 we realised that our old heating system was not going to make it through another cold winter so, for the last couple of years, we’ve been raising funds to cover the ...…read more

Stray Aid Annual Dog Show Sunday 2nd June

Published 28/05/2019
It's that time of year again, and this time our annual dog show and fun day is bigger and better than ever! At East Durham College, Houghall Campus, Durham DH1 3SG. Entries from 9.30am, judging starts at 11am. With 40 stalls booked in, food, drink and entertainment for the kids, it's a real family fun day! Car parking £2 per car with a free programme. Entries £2 per dog per class …read more


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