A NEW animal rescue service is being set up to help pet owners who are struggling to cope with hefty vets’ bills.
K9 Animal Care (North East) is a new charity that hopes to provide a lifeline to people on low incomes who can’t afford veterinary care.
Paul Sheard, 64, and his wife Ralda, 59, are behind the project, which also helps to re-home dogs.
It will provide a free “animal ambulance” to collect and deliver animals to and from various locations around County Durham.
Paul was a director with Coxhoe-based Stray Aid, which helps to rehouse stray cats and dogs, for six years before he decided to branch out.
K9 Animal Care, based in Granville Terrace, Wheatley Hill, will generally cater for dogs, but will also be open to most animals that need care and attention.
Paul, whose son Dean, 34, will also be helping out with the service, said: “We have started a fresh charity where we want to help people on low incomes who need vet services they can’t afford.
“It could be medical care with vets and also transportation from kennel to kennel or region to region, if needed, for re-homing.”
Paul said the service will be working with Greyhound Rescue North East, which has kennels in Wheatley Hill.
He is also looking at contracting some services to the Abbey Vet Group in Durham.
He added: “Our primary aim is to raise funds to be able to help people afford medical services.
“We recognise that east Durham is a disadvantaged area and people might not be able to afford vet’s services.
“It seems to be an area where people can’t get the help they need.
“They can’t afford it and some of the animals have to suffer.”
The service, which will open on Monday and will also sell clothes and bric-a-brac to raise funds, is also looking for volunteers who can help out.
“People on the dole can apply to be a volunteer and it will go on their CV and they may get extra payments,” said Paul.
To find out more about the charity, call 07853332130.