A PET lover who founded an animal rescue group for cats and dogs in Turkey has been granted official charity status.

Animal Friends of Turkey was launched last year by Carol Holbrook, from Brompton-on-Swale, who has been helping to rehome cats and dogs from Turkey for several years.

Mrs Holbrook, who visits Turkey regularly with her family to a holiday home, said she had been driven to help the animals after seeing how many were neglected, abused, and left on the streets.

She said: “I used to fundraise for the local street animal charity as we had befriended some cats on the complex from kittens. I felt it was giving something back by fundraising to help them.

“This drew me more into the world of the street animals and how hard it was for them.

“I heard about two huskies who had been badly abused and it touched me so much that I raised the funds needed to bring them to the UK. I contacted a husky rescue in this country to help rehome them.”

In the first 11 months the group has rescued 45 animals, including 35 dogs and ten cats, some of which have been rehomed in Richmondshire.

Mrs Holbrook said: “We are a not for profit charity totally reliant on donations and fundraising. We have gained UK charity status in our first year which we are very proud of and this will lead onto being able to help more animals.”

One of the group’s most recent rescues is Bulut, a dog similar to a retriever, who was abandoned on New Year’s Eve at a shelter where disease is rife and he may not have survived. He has been rehomed in Catterick Garrison, where he will arrive soon. The cost to get each animal to the UK is between £1,000 and £1,500.

To find out more about the charity visit Animal Friends of Turkey on Facebook or via the website at https://rehome-a-rescue-dog.co.uk.