Surrey dog rehoming charity hit by vehicle thefts

A dog rescue centre owner has spoken about her shock after her centre was the subject of an overnight theft. Epsom Canine Rescue explained in a social media post that it was raided on the evening of Wednesday-Thursday, August 25-26. All the dogs were thankfully safe, but two vehicles were stolen – a silver Land Rover Discovery, registration V6 NOM, and an electric blue Fiat Fullback Pick-Up, registration CV17 BZE.

The centre is based in Bletchingley in Redhill, rehoming dogs within a 20 mile radius of the Redhill area. It has been going since 1992, and became a registered charity in 1995. : Hogsmill River wetland plans delayed until next year

Speaking the morning after the incident, Nikki Weeks-Taylor, the founder of the charity, says: “We’re just shocked, really. [That] the animals are all safe is our main concern. Just our vehicles have been taken. Which is unfortunate, because I keep a lot of sentimental stuff in my vehicle.

A lot of our dog stuff is in there as well. We’re all a bit in shock this morning.” She was staying onsite at the centre at the time of the theft, and says this comes as a nasty surprise for a place she always thought was secure.

It also comes as a particular blow for a smaller-sized charity like Epsom Canine Rescue, that has already had an incredibly challenging 17 months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic hitting its funding. She explains: “It’s been extremely difficult. We’re a small rescue.

We’re just run by a handful of volunteers, so we don’t have any major funding, just donations from the volunteers that have followed us through the years, and fundraising events. She explains that lockdown resulted in the cancellation of fundraisers last year. They have had a couple of small emergency grants from businesses like Pets At Home, and from some other charities.

She says it is business as usual for Epsom Canine Rescue despite the theft – on site they are sorting kennels, dog walking and even organising an upcoming fundraiser. The fundraiser in question is planned for Godstone on Bank Holiday Monday, where they’re still hoping to run an informal dog show and have a big stall, but it will be much harder to transport things to the event in the light of the missing vehicles. “We’re going to struggle now to get all of the fundraising stuff to the event.

It’s a big hit for us because we’re a small charity and we have been unable to fundraise. Now we can, something like this is just heartbreaking. It hits home, really.”

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When you get there, make sharing a picture of your dog in our Top Dogs feed your very brilliant first job. Maybe when you’ve done that, leave a recommendation to help fellow dog owners in the TeamDogs community. Their supporters have however been keen to lend a hand – one has let them use his pick up truck for transport, with others helping out with smaller vehicles.

A spokesperson from Surrey Police says: “We received reports of two stolen vehicles including a Land Rover Discovery and a blue Fiat pick-up, from Bletchingley. It is believed the theft occurred overnight at some point between 9.30pm on 25 August and 7am [on] 26 August. If you saw anyone acting suspiciously in this area at these times, or have any information, please contact us quoting PR/45210090286.”

You can support the Epsom Canine Rescue via donations on their website.

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