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South Woodford woman to receive award for rescuing Sri Lankan street dogs

Kim Cooling has rescued tens of thousands of street dogs in Sri Lanka

A woman from South Woodford is to receive a national award for her dedication to rescuing street dogs in Sri Lanka.

The special recognition will come from global charity the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at an event held at the House of Lords.

Kim Cooling founded her sanctuary, Animal SOS Sri Lanka, in 2007 although it was 2009 when the charity became fully operational.

The 62-year-old has rescued tens of thousands of street dogs since.

Sri Lanka is believed to have around three million street animals, with many suffering from diseases, serious injuries and malnutrition.

Kim has provided vaccinations and neutering to many dogs without a home.

The former social worker has also given permanent refuge and when required, mobility equipment to around 200 disabled canines.

Kim said: “Despite many challenges the work is very satisfying. One of the most fulfilling aspects is giving a sick or injured dog the benefit of the doubt and the chance to recover.

“We recently had a disabled dog which learnt to walk again after a year. Part of our ethos is to give animals a chance.

“When I got the phone call telling me I was to win an IFAW award I was so pleased, just to know I’m appreciated for this work really means so much.”

Kim founded the Animal SOS Sri Lankan sanctuary

Kim lives in the UK but travels out to the centre to work for long periods. At home, she also runs two fundraising charity shops, with the help of volunteers.

James Sawyer, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Kim’s commitment to improving the lives of so many vulnerable street dogs is outstanding and she is a great example of animal welfare in action.

“We hope that her efforts will inspire the next generation of animal welfare campaigners and carers.

“She is a very deserving winner of IFAW’s International Animal Welfare Award.”

The event takes place on Tuesday, 15 October and is presented by TV wildlife presenter Bill Oddie.

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