Up to 1,800 dogs sent to new homes in Britain
An animal rescue charity saved almost 1,800 dogs last year by taking them to England and Scotland as they couldn't find homes here.
The Chance of a Lifetime scheme, run by Assisi animal sanctuary, saved 1790 dogs in 2015. It rescues dogs at risk of being put to sleep in council pounds if they can't be rehomed.
If a new family can't be found in Northern Ireland, they are identified by council kennels as rehomable, taken in by local rescues, vaccinated, checked by a vet and after 10 days are transferred to Dogs Trust centres in England and Scotland, where they can find new families.
Many animal sanctuaries across the water are not full and there is a higher chance of the animals being rehomed due to the size of population. According to the charity, most dogs are rehomed within three weeks.
Heather Weatherup, manager at Assisi sanctuary, said: "We have very sociable dogs here and the dogs go prepared. They're very easy to rehome on the other side, but there are just not enough homes for them here."
Each week, volunteers make at least two 800-mile round trips to Britain by van, costing £400 each time. The van can take 20 dogs on each trip and since 2003 the charity has saved more than 15,000 animals.
To donate to the Chance of a Lifetime scheme, visit https://www.justgiving.com/savemyfriends/ or to get involved, call Assisi on 028 9181 2622.