About The Sussex Pet Rescue Charitable Trust (Registered Charity No. 1048731)

We are a small registered charity working in Sussex. Our aim is to help small animal charities across the county

A bit of history, by Marcia Harris, co-founder

In 1995 we formally became “The Sussex Pet Rescue Charitable Trust”. Then, after much form filling, question answering, and much attention to legal detail, we finally achieved our registration as an approved National Charity. This brought us into line with the RSPCA and the Dog’s Trust (formerly the Canine Defence League) etc. in terms of our ability to raise funds for our work.

Little did I think, nearly forty years ago when I joined a very small band of local animal welfare workers, that our group would progress to become a recognised charity. At first, the group did not even have a name, and, since we rescued and rehomed any animal needing our help, it was difficult for us to find an appropriate title. It was Bunny Heaseman who first hit upon the name “Pet Rescue” – a name which has since become so well known within the Sussex area and beyond for the care of animals in distress.

I met Kate Tapper (one of my Co-Directors who sadly moved to Hampshire in 2004) over thirty years ago when we were both walking our dogs in the Copse at the top of Woodland Drive, Hove. One day she commented on the number of different dogs I appeared to own. “Oh yes,” I replied, “I am a member of a group called Pet Rescue. I don’t suppose you ever have any free time for us, do you?” Kate often wondered how different life would have been for her and her family if her answer to my question had not been so enthusiastic, or, indeed, if she had chosen to walk her dogs on the Downs rather than the Copse!

Over the years we’ve rescued and rehomed literally thousands of dogs, becoming well known for taking an enormous amount of trouble finding suitable foster homes and getting to know our dogs really well before offering them for adoption. A really thorough home checking process followed and follow up calls to see all was well, and we’re pleased to say we had very few dogs who didn’t settle in their new homes. Sussex Pet Rescue always provided guidance, support and, where necessary, financial help with medical conditions for the lifetime of the dogs. People came back to us time and time again to adopt when they had to say goodbye to their companions.

Then came the pandemic, with re-homing opportunities disappearing overnight and a wave of new dog ownership during lock down. After things opened up again and people went back to work, re-homing was still challenging with lots of adolescent, often poorly trained dogs looking for new homes, advertised online and then offered to the rescues if unsuccessful.

At that point we made the decision to change tack and offer a different kind of service, helping people with the cost of veterinary treatment and neutering. We’d provided assistance for neutering all along but now expanded this to include any treatment other than the usual preventative costs of responsible dog ownership, for people on low incomes or benefits.

This was timely because the cost of living crisis has resulted in a flood of applications, and ultimately needed two full time administrators to manage it. Thanks to their efforts, and telephone backup from the other trustees, we have helped hundreds of pets of all shapes and sizes to receive the treatment they needed.

New beginnings

Sussex Pet Rescue now sees the retirement of two of our longest serving trustees, and after a great deal of thought, we’ve decided we can’t continue with the veterinary help. From now on, we’ll be supporting other Sussex based small animal charities which conform to our own philosophy and which meet our aims and objectives, as long as funds allow. These remain simple: to help the animals of Sussex. They may be rescues which carry out re-homing and/or they may be involved in veterinary help. They will be carefully researched before a decision is made to support them.


We do NOT receive any grants from statutory bodies but rely totally on donations from the public, kind legacies in people’s wills and organisations that very kindly raise money on our behalf. Our heartfelt thanks to every person who makes a donation or leaves us something in their will. We hope that you will continue to support Sussex Pet Rescue in our new incarnation.

Keren O’Mahony and her fantastic team of fundraisers have raised thousands over the years. Diane Jones and her team have also organised and run the annual Companion Dog Show with Obedience at Upper Dicker every May, with proceeds to Sussex Pet Rescue, and Findon Downs Dog Training Club have also been great supporters, running dog shows when they can. Fox & Finch Alehouse in Worthing have done an amazing job of fundraising for us.

Our very grateful thanks go to the many veterinary groups in Sussex who have helped us over the years, plus all the foster homes, volunteers, fundraisers and supporters. Our biggest thanks must go to the thousands of animals we’ve had the pleasure of dealing with, without you Sussex Pet Rescue would not exist.

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© 2022 - The Sussex Pet Rescue Charitable Trust | Registered Charity No.1048731
Thank you to our Patrons, Sam Toft, Jenny Seagrove FRSA and Clare Mackie.