Sunday 3rd March

Volunteer Coffee Morning. 10am to Noon

All are welcome to our first coffee morning for volunteers and those interested in becoming involved in the Society. This is your chance to meet like-minded dog lovers and find out the many ways in which you can help support the Society either by giving up some of your spare time, becoming a member or even running your own event to raise funds for us.

We would also love to hear your ideas and suggestions so please come and join us.



As the Society continues to move forward, we are updating our email addresses to meet the needs of our Rescue and Rehoming work.

This will help ensure your email gets to the right person and a response issued promptly. The new email addresses are effective from 1st December 2018.

Please update your contact details you have for the Society as follows:

Old Email Address                                 New Email Address

all general and dog enquiries                      

all fundraising                    

all orders and invoicing                     

The old email addresses will continue to receive emails for a while as people change over to our new email addresses but there may be a delay before they are forwarded to the new email addresses.




Moving into the new Rescue Centre was a huge milestone in the Society’s history.

It is hard to explain how wonderful it is to see the dogs in their new kennels in an environment which helps to make their stay with us, for however long, as comfortable and fulfilling as possible.

Of course, the kennels themselves formed Phase One in our vision to create a Centre of Excellence for our rescue and rehoming work. As we settle into our new surroundings we have already turned our attention to, and indeed commenced work on, Phase 2. This includes landscaping, car parking areas and the demolition of the old kennels to give us room for additional training facilities.

As well as calm and comfortable surroundings in the kennels themselves it is also important to offer training, socialisation and relaxation areas for the dogs. Essentially a dog play zone!

With this in mind, one of the key elements of Phase 2 will take the form of creating and building two enrichment and sensory paddocks. These paddocks will not only provide the dogs with the space to socialise together but by adding different plants, scents and textures as well as other features we can provide the mental and physical stimulation they also require.

Features such as a sandpit for digging, water feature for paddling, log tunnels and raised platforms will enable dogs to put their natural skills to the test. Caves, trees and shrubs will provide additional interest as well as natural shade. Plants such as lavender, yarrow, St Johns Wort and valerian add scent and can offer beneficial properties for dogs. The paddocks can also be used to provide quieter surroundings for training as well as a good place for potential owners to meet a dog for the first time.

In essence the paddocks will not only provide an exciting and stimulating area for the dogs but will highlight certain aspects of their personality, helping us to evaluate their progress and aid the rehoming process.

Initial costings for two 25m paddocks plus the cost of the features is estimated to be £20,000 and to help us achieve this next chapter we are excited to announce the launch of a new campaign to raise funds to create our DogZone.

It is because of your incredible generosity that we have already achieved so much and with your continued loyalty we can achieve so much more.

We are building a better future for rescue dogs and you can help us by donating to our DogZone campaign in one of the following ways:

Text ZONE20 £20 to 70070 to donate £20


Text ZONE20 £10 to 70070 to donate £10

Complete and return the attached donation form

Or donate online at


We have moved into our new Rescue Centre !

I have always believed the redevelopment of the Rescue Centre would be the Society`s greatest challenge to date. That certainly proved to be the case.

However, at long last, I am delighted to be able to say that Building Control have signed off the work and we have moved in. The new Rescue Centre is now open for business – what an amazing milestone this is for the Society.

Our sincere thanks go to so many people over the years; their vision and hard work have got us to where we are now. Our members, staff, trustees and friends have shown an unwavering love of dogs and, by supporting our rescue and rehoming work, have demonstrated a deep commitment to help those in most need; we couldn’t be more grateful and hope you feel the new Centre fulfils all the promises we made to you at the beginning of this project.

As you may remember, very rapid progress was seen in the early stages as the site was cleared, the ground works team moved in and the walls of the new buildings began to rise. Once weather proofed with a sophisticated roof design and windows, further work began inside in earnest. This was less obvious to visitors but included a network of integrated systems for heating, lighting, mains and ‘grey’ water provision and waste disposal, together with the installation of fire alarms, intruder alerts, resin finishes for the kennel walls and floors, tiling, decorating, office flooring, … the list went on and on.

Last year we launched our Metre of Mesh campaign to raise £40,000 towards completion of the mesh work, one of the final stages in Phase 1 of the redevelopment. Again, thanks to the amazing generosity of members, the public and Support Adoption for Pets, we reached our target and instruction for the installation of the remaining mesh was given. We have also finalised other remaining items such as the disabled access and emergency exits in the past months. Further thanks go to our volunteers who have assisted us with so much of this additional work; Mike Ellis for making our trellis and planters, Paul and Ann for providing plants, Callum and Antony for assisting with landscaping, Joyce for moving over fund raising materials and dog records and many others. Some temporary landscaping has been put in place prior to moving onto Phase 2 which involves demolition of the old facilities, setting up training facilities and final landscaping – a condition of our planning permission.

With all this effort, we have created a superb facility for housing the dogs (see the report From Rescue Centre for further details) and we have just transferred all the office and administrative aspects of the charity to the central hub to complete the relocation.

This is not the end of the story. There is so much more we want to achieve for dogs in need and so, with your support, we will continue to help in whatever we can.

David Lewis

CDRS launches Metre of Mesh Campaign


This year promises to be very special for the Society as we near completion of our new facilities to provide a Centre of Excellence for our rescue and rehoming work.

We are so close to being able to move the dogs into their new kennels but before we can take this final step, we need to raise additional funds for the mesh for the kennels, pens, walkways, roofs, gates and hatches.

This is where you can help the rescue dogs we are building a better future for.

  • We are launching a ‘Metre of Mesh’ campaign to help us achieve our goal to raise £40,000.
  • You can donate to our charity by texting MESH40 followed by the amount you wish to donate to 70070.
  • You can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 (up to a maximum of £30).
  • As an example, to donate £5, you would text the following to 70070:
    MESH40 £5
  • All the money you donate goes to CDRS. You may be charged for your text message. Please refer to your network operator’s standard rates.

If you have any questions about JustTextGiving, visit
Every donation will get us a step nearer to realising our dream.

Alternatively you can send a cheque to the Rescue Centre or donate online through our website at

Thank you for your support.

Metre of Mesh

Historic ‘deathbed gift’ legacy case – decision overturned

Redwings Horse Sanctuary and Chilterns Dog Rescue Society have expressed their delight and relief after an historic decision in the Court of Appeal in a landmark legacy case.

The Court of Appeal has overturned (on June 9th 2015) the High Court judgment in the case of King v Dubrey & Others [2014], which had allowed for a passing statement made by a deceased lady to her nephew regarding her property to override her formally made Will.

June Fairbrother made a Will in 1998 leaving around £20,000 of pecuniary legacies to family and friends, and the rest of her estate to seven animal welfare charities – Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Chilterns Dog Rescue Society, Blue Cross, PDSA, IFAW, The Donkey Sanctuary and World Animal Protection. Mrs Fairbrother was well known for her love of animals and was a supporter of many of the charities during her lifetime.

When Mrs Fairbrother died in 2011 her estate mainly consisted of a property worth £350,000. Some time after her death, her nephew, Kenneth King, claimed that Mrs Fairbrother had spoken to him about her house, effectively gifting her property to him, four to six months before she died; thereby undermining her Will and leaving nothing for her chosen charities or the friends and family she had pledged money to.

In 2014 the High Court ruled that Mrs Fairbrother did, by operation of the little known legal doctrine of donatio mortis causa (‘gifts made in contemplation of death’*), gift the property to Mr King, a result which meant that the charities and other beneficiaries would receive nothing from her estate.

But Redwings Horse Sanctuary and Chilterns Dog Rescue Society elected to appeal the decision, believing the High Court result set a dangerous precedent and undermined the legal sanctity of a properly executed Will. The Court of Appeal has today by unanimous decision found in favour of the charities and overturned the High Court judgment on the donatio mortis causa (DMC).**

In his judgment, Lord Justice Jackson said: “In my view, it cannot be said that June was contemplating her impending death at the relevant time. She was not suffering from a fatal illness. Nor was she about to undergo a dangerous operation or to undertake a dangerous journey. If June was dissatisfied with her existing Will and suddenly wished to leave everything to the claimant, the obvious thing for her to do was to go to her solicitors and make a new Will. June was an intelligent retired police officer. There is not the slightest reason why she should not have taken that course. “If June had taken that course, the solicitors would have talked to her in the absence of the claimant. They would have ensured that June understood the new Will which she was making and that she intended the consequences. One of those consequences was that the animal charities, which June had supported for many years, would inherit nothing on her death. If the DMC claim is upheld, the effect will be that June’s Will is largely superseded and the bulk of her estate will pass to the claimant, who is not even named as a beneficiary in the Will. This would bypass all of the safeguards provided by the Wills Act and the Law of Property Act.”

Lynn Cutress, Chief Executive of Redwings, said: “This was always about a principle of law. June Fairbrother loved animals and had made a Will to demonstrate that fact, and the High Court judgment completely undermined her wishes. We never believed that the Respondent showed adequate evidence of a donatio mortis causa (DMC), as any conversation was not held in expectation of her impending death, which is central to the doctrine. We knew this action was necessary in order to give confidence back to our supporters and the public at large that any wishes they set down in their Will in their lifetime could not be overruled by something so fleeting and unsubstantiated. We are so relieved that the Court of Appeal has overturned the judgment as this would have had huge ramifications not just for our supporters but for anyone contemplating making a Will.”

David Lewis, Chairman of Chilterns Dog Rescue Society, said, “It was a brave decision for a small charity like ours to go to appeal. However, the Society was desperately unhappy with the original judgment as it steamrollered June’s rightful wishes and we are therefore both pleased and relieved with the outcome.”

Charlotte Watts, solicitor for the charities, said: “I want to thank the charities for having the courage to take this matter to appeal and overturn this dangerous precedent. It should send out a clear message to potential claimants that the Court will not look favourably on those who try to circumvent the Wills Act.”

*A DMC is a gift made by a donor in contemplation of their death in the near future but which remains conditional until they die, at which point the gift takes effect.

** Mr King will receive £75,000 from the estate as the Court of Appeal confirmed that June Fairbrother’s Will did not make reasonable provision for him and he meets the legal criteria for a dependant under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.