A WOMAN has helped set up a charity to rescue abandoned dogs in Easter Europe.

Liz Day, who lives in Crambe, first became aware of the suffering of animals in Romania four years ago through social media. With her friend Colleen Stead, from York, the pair thought of ways they could help.

Liz said: “Initially, this was in the nature of making regular donations, and then hearts began to rule heads and in due course the first Romanian dog, a pretty fox-like bitch named Ginger, arrived in the UK and came to live with us and the resident dogs in Crambe.

“Colleen began with a foster dog, Emma, now living happily with friends, and Emma was followed by Tessa, formerly Printessa, who took up residence in the Stead household.”

Liz said they quickly realised that to help effectively they needed to become more organised, and involve more of their dog-loving friends, and the idea of Rags To Riches was born.

“It shocked us to find that dogs in Romania are basically regarded as vermin, and that there are no anti-cruelty laws to protect them,” she said. “Luckily we found our way to a handful of very trustworthy Romanian rescuers who we now passionately wish to help.”

Liz said that in the long run much of their activity was geared towards supporting the spay-and-neuter campaigns, but in the meantime they aim to rescue some lucky individuals.

“We finance their journeys to the UK and welcome them into our own homes, where they are socialised and prepared for adoption into hand-picked forever homes,” she said.

“In early 2017, an important milestone was reached when Rags To Riches achieved full charity status, something of which we are very proud, as we still only have the minimum number of trustees.

"We have welcomed Lisa Holmes, a vet nurse from Northallerton, onto our fostering team, and Pauline Carruthers, of Scagglethorpe, has joined us on the administration side."

This year supporters in Scotland and Yorkshire have tackled challenging sponsored walks, and on August Bank Holiday the charity is planning a fun dog show at Shipton-by-Beningbrough near York.

Liz said: "We would be delighted to hear from people who wish to help in any capacity, whether by raising funds for vet bills/neutering campaigns, or sponsoring or adopting one of our lovely dogs."

For details, go to rags-2-riches.co.uk