The 31 dogs looking for a new home as UK's only Dalmatian sanctuary 'beyond repair'

  • Dave Hayward spoke to ITV News about the struggles he faces with the condition of the sanctuary

A couple from South Devon who run the UK's only sanctuary for Dalmatians are looking for a new home for themselves and their 31 dogs.

Sue Bell and Dave Haywood run the DAS Dalmatians rescue centre between Torquay and Newton Abbot, where so far, they have taken in 21 dalmatians and 10 other large breed dogs.

The sanctuary is also their home, where they coexist with the dogs, but they are struggling to keep it in a liveable condition whilst also caring for their 31 "kids" or dogs.

The couple live in a triple stable, with a kitchen, two bedrooms, a bathroom and a lounge, but it is slowly deteriorating.

They have encountered problems recently with the stable due to its location on the edge of Dartmoor.

The turbulent weather there causes flooding on a regular basis and the remote location creates issues with deliveries and repair works.

Dave told ITV News that they are looking for a new premises for their beloved pooches as the house is "beyond repair" after the recent bout of flooding.

The couple are looking for a plot of land with a yard big enough to allow the dogs to stretch their legs in.

It started back in the mid 90s, when Sue got her first dalmatian before realising there was nowhere to re-home big breeds.

From there, they started taking in deaf, epileptic and unwanted dalmatians who had nowhere else to go.

Sue, a full-time dog mum, said: "Life with these dogs is madness - but I wouldn't have it any other way.

"You have to be dotty to have so many spotties. I've always loved dogs but I love Dalmatians because they are different.

"I do this work because because I want to help - every old or end of life dog deserves to spend the rest of it’s days being loved in comfort and to leave this earth with kindness and dignity.

The care of the dogs and the upkeep of the sanctuary relies on donations.

They hope that with a bigger and more accessible plot of land to build a new sanctuary on, they might be able to allow visitors in and start an education programme around how to care for big dogs.

While Dave works a full time job from home that lets him help keep an eye on the "kids", he is reaching out to any generous spotty-dog loving landowners who might be able to gift the couple a piece of land big enough to provide the right facilities for the sanctuary.

The couple are looking for a long term let anywhere north of Somerset, in a rural setting with at least an acre of land and a yard to live, work and play happily with their dogs.