John Inman opens Torbay rescue centre

Our history

Animals in Distress was born out of the local community’s desire to help pets who had lost their homes.

In 1981 three ladies from Torbay, Mrs Georgina Lang, Mrs Eileen Hunt and Mrs Muriel Sellick, saw there was an urgent need to help dogs in the local area who could no longer be cared for by their owners.

They had no rescue centre so homeless dogs were privately boarded in local kennels until loving new homes could be found for them. Cats were rehomed from an enclosure in the garden of another lady, Margaret Holder. The ladies sold bric-a-brac from Mrs Sellick’s garage in Ellacombe to raise much-needed funds for their rescue work.

Charity founders Torbay

Charity founders Muriel Sellick (front middle), John Glaser (Chairman/Treasurer, back left) & friends.

In 1994, thanks to two incredibly generous legacies, the dream of having our own rescue centre became a reality when we were able to purchase the former Greyhound racing kennels at Biltor in Ipplepen where we still are today. The new centre was officially opened later that year by John Inman (top photo).

old dog kennels

Original dog kennels at Biltor, 1994

From humble beginnings, the charity has grown from providing temporary emergency care for dogs to taking in and re-homing over 600 cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs in South Devon every year.

Since the beginning we have been, and continue to be, passionate about the welfare of the animals in our charge and we are dedicated to treating them with dignity and kindness.

They are with us through no fault of their own and we are committed to keeping them healthy and secure until we find their new, forever homes.

Rescue centre

Our Biltor rescue centre in 2019

Created by three local ladies who had a passion to help animals in need, we have been lucky enough to have the support of the local community ever since. It’s only thanks to this support that we are able to help find perfect, forever homes for so many cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs every year.