SLIDESHOW: Fundraising opens the door to save more dogs

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A dog rescue centre has officially opened a new block thanks to an outpouring of support from local dog lovers.

Babbington Dog Rescue – the UK’s biggest privately financed rescue centre – is now even bigger and the new block at the Awsworth centre can now rehome an extra 100 dogs a year.

Babbington Rescue "D" block opening: Owner Tony Sanderson, with Harry and John Turkington of Scarsdale vets iin Derby.

Babbington Rescue "D" block opening: Owner Tony Sanderson, with Harry and John Turkington of Scarsdale vets iin Derby.

Last year, when a bank loan was refused to the kennels, the project, which was expected to cost £200,000, was plunged into uncertainty.

But the money was found after owner Tony Sanderson and his wife cashed in a pension and made a heartfelt plea for help via the Advertiser.

Dozens of dog lovers came forward to sponsor a kennel for £7,500, many in memory of beloved pets or relatives who loved animals.

“We think it’s fantastic,” said Tony, who said it wouldn’t have been possible without the sponsorships.

“They came in at the end of the day when things were looking bleak and enabled us to complete the task.”

The 30 people who sponsored kennels were invited to the official opening on Tuesday – exactly a year on from when work began.

John Turkington, from Scarsdale Vets Group, who has a long-standing partnership with Babbington, alongside the University of Nottingham, cut the ribbon.

In the end the project cost £97,000 thanks to heavily discounted rates from local builders.

Tony explained that the problem of stray dogs is worse than ever, with the centre – which never puts down a healthy dog – receiving more calls than ever before.

And the number of strays is set to increase in the run-up to Christmas and the first few months of the new year.

“The number of phone calls we get from people trying to dump their dogs on us seem to increase at Christmas,” he said.

In response to growing numbers of strays Tony now has plans to enable the centre to rehouse a further 100 dogs with plans already in the pipeline for a new exercise area.

To enquire about any of the strays pictured here, give the centre a call on 0115 932 4576.