The Birkett-Smith Animal Sanctuary

The Birkett-Smith Animal Sanctuary
3 Templemans Ash,
DT6 5NX.


We are The Birkett~Smith Animal Sanctuary and we are unique in the UK as we are the largest sanctuary to take in both human and dog aggressive dogs and rehabilitate them. We have approximately 200 animals which includes 150 dogs, all of whom have their forever homes here with us. We also have SOS HAVEN rehabilitation spaces for UK rescues seeking a place of safety and Rehab for behaviourally affected dogs. In most cases this unique service offers them their last chance to gain help for animals which would otherwise be put to sleep.

What is an SOS Haven and Who is Who?

The dogs we take in here at the sanctuary have ranging in depth issues: behaviour, aggression, age, disability, fear of humans and/or other dogs, guarding issues etc and some have been subjected to severe neglect, cruelty and abuse. The bottom line is we basically take the animals that stand little or no chance of gaining homes let alone the security of a forever home and we work with them to try to turn them around. We used our experience and extended our reach and started the SOS Havens in 2016 to provide a much needed service and a lifeline for rescues and thier at risk dogs needing safety and rehabilitation.

Our aim is to always get them back out again on their journey having been fully assessed and worked on, and with so that their rescues know the dogs inside out and back to front to make sure they go somewhere safely. Since we started we have been overwhelmed with requests from rescues to take in desperate dogs who have simply run out of chances and have nowhere left to go and our spaces are always full. We charge rescue an SOS Rehab fee which covers their care and rehabilitation and once (and if) the dogs are ready to be re-homed their rescue gives full rescue back up. These dogs are our 'SOS Haven Rehab Dogs'.


Navi had not had an easy time and developed a few issues, she needed sanctuary, peace and space. But Navi needed a very special place where she could be given a last chance; without that last chance Navi's time would have run out despite the best efforts of the rescue that originally saved her. The Sanctuary SOS Haven was a lifesaver for Navi and she is funded by her rescue whilst we rehabilitated her. She did very well and bagged herself her forever home with a family that adore her.

We have also taken in some unfunded pound dogs who would otherwise be dead today had we not provided them with a safe space and we fund raise ourselves to cover the costs for these dogs which as you can imagine are hefty. These are a range of UK dogs that we have taken under our wing and given a last chance, they will stay with us at the Sanctuary. These are our 'SOS Woofa's'.

And we have our own UK poundies who come under the heading of Our Dogs but will hopefully be re-homed eventually. The gorgeous Soza was one of ours.

Gorgeous Soza
Gorgeous Soza

Soza is around 2 years old, he spent the first 6 months of his life living in a drugs den where he was taught to attack and kill cats and dogs. He was subjected to cruelty and abuse, beaten and used as a bait dog for 6 hellish months. He was then passed to a person that shut him in a crate 24 hours a day and he was left in my own urine and faeces. He came to us unfunded and potentially permanent but he did so well in rehab that he was able to go out to our rescue partners at Last Hope Rescue for his final assessments. He surprised and amazed us all with his rehab and in so many ways and best of all he now has his forever home and he lives a very happy life with his new family.

We also have our other permanent residents, the 'ROMMIES' to whom Joy gave sanctuary a couple of years ago, they also fall under the heading of Our Dogs. They are severely affected Romanian dogs chosen specifically and matched into packs and they have their forever homes here with us.

Moving Forward.

The sheer number of requests we have received for SOS spaces in such a short time is sad testament to the over-breeding/throwaway attitude and abuse towards animals that has become more prevalent in the UK and the need for these spaces is more apparent than ever. In 2016 we worked hard to raise the funds to build more, upgrade our existing facilities and re-build the sanctuary and we now have 23 SOS Haven's which are all full and we always have a long list of rescues awaiting a space for thier dogs.

Seeing a dog relax into the safety of the sanctuary is our motivation and seeing the dogs thrive and become the loving creatures they were before society dealt them a rough hand is what drives us; seeing them safely into a forever home is what our dreams are made of.

As we move forward and continue to save more and more lives we hope that you will continue to give us your support...without you our road to helping these forgotten and unwanted animals would be almost impossible to tread.

Please walk with us and help us hold the paws that need us the most x


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Amazon Wishlist

Please visit our Amazon wishlist...with over 100 dogs, treats and toys are always an extra and are welcomed with very waggy tails!


Amazon Wish List

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One By One Until There Are None

"If you have received love from an animal in your life then you are very lucky. Give back a little to this fantastic trust and see what YOU can do to make a huge difference. Love, shelter, healthcare and food. What an amazing gift you can give. Do it today. Thank you so much."

Helen LLoyd