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This page is now part of our archive on the F&M disease crisis and is for information only.

The program is now closed

Foot and Mouth Program for Displaced Farm Dogs

Contributors and Supporters

A message from an American Vet

Details of the Program

MAFF/DEFRA Press Release

Huntaway x border Collie Pups - Litter of 6 from Herefordshire farm - Photo copyright and courtesy of Guzelian Ltd

Border Collie Rescue would like to thank the following Companies, Organisations and individuals for Donations and Assistance in Setting up and Resourcing this Program.

Financial Contributions to our Welfare Fund F&M Appeal are listed on this separate page.

  • MAFF / DEFRA - for their help, advice and co-operation. Special thanks go to the staff at licensing centres throughout the UK for their co-operation in facilitating the treatment and removal of dogs from infected premises and in particular to the staff at 'The Bunker' in Carlisle for additional information and support.

  • ANTEC International - for donations of disinfectant and materials. Also for support and advice on product use and health and safety information.

  • Bayer PLC - for donations of Microchips and Scanner.

  • Avid PLC - for donations of Microchips and Scanner.

  • Abbey Mill Kennels Richmond - for donation of dog beds.

  • House of Hindes Comfort & Care - for donation of Grooming aids and equipment.

  • Skinners Dog Foods - for donation of a mixed pallet of Field and Trial Maintenance and Crunchy complete dog foods.

  • Sunderland AFC - for donation of Limited Edition team print, "Goal - Den Moments", signed by Bob Murray and Peter Reid.

  • The Company Of Animals - for a generous donation of Kongs.

  • Ritchey Tagg Limited - for donation of rechargeable clippers, shears,  brushes and low lather vitamin shampoo's and a further donation of ID tags.

  • Gilbertson and Page Ltd - for donation of a tonne of Dr. Johns Mixed Gold and Silver Medal dog food.

  • Westgate Group Limited - for donation of high quality rope leads.

  • Gold Label UK Ltd - for donation of natural skin care products for dogs.

  • Arco Teeside - for substantial discount on disposal overalls.

  • Batleys Cash and Carry Pet Supplies Teeside - for a donation of dog collars.

  • Pet Cetera, Northallerton - for donation of dog food.

  • William McIvor, Northallerton - for donation of two cases of Treats.

  • Peter Simpson, Chief Executive, Hambleton DC - for donation of dog food.

  • Pedigree Pet foods, North East - for donation of dog food.

  • Members of Applegarth DTC - for donation of Treats and Accessories.

  • Everyone who has been busy collecting used towels and blankets for the dogs.





Copy of Press release. MAFF. 10/4/2001



 A special sheepdog rescue service has been established for farmers with flocks slaughtered as a result of foot and mouth disease.

 The charity Border Collie Rescue, based at Richmond, North Yorkshire, has set up a registration system for sheepdogs which face being destroyed following the loss of flocks. Although it is not Government policy to destroy dogs, some farmers concerned about the possible spread of the disease have chosen to have the animals put down.

 Mike Cooke of Border Collie Rescue said: “Liaising with the MAFF veterinary officer in charge of each case, we will arrange for the disinfection of these dogs, removal from farms and placing in quarantine for three weeks before they are assessed and offered for rehousing. Most will go to another working environment, either on a farm or to police, search and rescue or another public service.”

 The scheme has full Government support, with information provided through web links between MAFF and the charity.



The Program -

Foot and Mouth Program for Displaced farm dogs

In brief, the scheme works like this.


A register has been set up for farmers and stockmen affected by Foot and Mouth to provide details of any surplus or displaced dogs they have for re-homing. Dogs can be registered through a form on our Website.

or - by e.mailing details to us at

or by fax on no fax available (24 hr line)

or by post to our registered office address

The information required is the full name and address of the owner and business/farm name where the dog is currently kept. Home/Business/Fax numbers if available. e.mail address if available.

If the farm has been infected - the date of the infection and the MAFF / DEFRA case number. If the farm has been culled as a dangerous contact or under the voluntary culling scheme, the date of the cull.

We also need the name and contact telephone number of the MAFF / DEFRA veterinary officer in charge of the case.


The dogs will remain in the charge of the owners and on the premises until BCR removes them.


Dogs from infected or affected farms are removed by Border Collie Rescue after liaison and approval by the MAFF / DEFRA vet in charge of the case or area.

The dog is disinfected on the farm before we remove it and is then taken to a 'halfway house' where its veterinary needs are attended.

Inoculations, worming, microchipping and Intrac respiratory vaccinations are given and upon completion of this process and when the dog is declared fit by our vets', the dog is disinfected for a second time and sent to a quarantine unit where it will remain for 21 days.


After this 21 day quarantine process the dog is given a third shampoo and moved into a foster home where we start assessment.


The assessment process will indicate to us the direction the dog needs to take for re-homing. Working dogs will be re-homed onto working farms and non stock workers as pets or another to working environment like the Police, Prison Service or Mountain Rescue (SARDA) as 'sniffer' dogs.


Applicants offering homes to these dogs can be assured that at least 6 weeks minimum will have elapsed since the dogs have been in contact with the Virus and they will have been bathed and disinfected 3 times during this process. We are assured that there is no possibility that the dog could be carrying the virus after this process and time.


Applications for these dogs are being taken and kept on file. We will not be hasty in re-homing these dogs to any sort of home and the applicant will be required to proceed through our normal methods of adoption and home checking.

Successful applicants will be offered dogs suitable for their needs as indicated in their application. Working dogs will be offered on a trial period to ensure good bonding between the handler and dog.


To register to adopt a dog, we will need the applicants full name, address, postcode and home telephone number.

These will be placed on file. As dogs become available, the applicant will be contacted by phone and a form sent through the post. The form will be our standard adoption application and we will need this filled in, signed and returned before we could proceed further.

Upon the return of this form, the applicant will be visited by representatives of Border Collie Rescue. This home visit is the final stage of the adoption process and is usually carried out when we have a dog in mind.

After successful completion of the home visit, the applicant will be invited to meet the dog or dogs we are sure would be right for their needs and circumstances. If they are happy with our choice, they can adopt the dog. If not we will seek another suitable dog for them.


During any part of this process, should an applicant find a dog elsewhere or change their mind, we ask them to let us know and we will close their file.


This process has been set up to enable applicants to adopt a dog from us with confidence that there is no danger of further infection from these animals. Dogs can not contract Foot and Mouth disease.


An E.mail Message circulating on the Internet has been sent to us at BCR HQ.

This message - from an American Vet who had been working in Cumbria for MAFF/DEFRA, assisting in the cull - to associates in the pet trade in the USA, has been written to draw attention to our efforts to assist the dogs in need on farms.

I have just returned to the USA after almost 90 days in Cumbria, UK as part of the US veterinary delegation helping with FMD control

As you probably can envision, almost everywhere you turn in England's country side there are sheep. Thousands of them. And with them, there are hundreds of working Border Collies. Watching these dogs work with their masters in the flocks is nothing short of amazing.

As Foot and Mouth has spread across England, it has been necessary to depopulate many of the sheep flocks, sometimes destroying several thousand sheep on one farm. The outlook for so-called restocking is not good. Realistically it will be a year or more before sheep flocks are returned to the farms depopulated in the face of FMD.

This has left hundreds of Border Collies, literally, "without work". At the same time, the farmers, while paid for the sheep taken for slaughter, face months of zero income for their families as no agricultural products are leaving the farms.

In England, the working Border Collies are almost always housed in kennels on the farms. I have never seen one dog in poor conditions or being mistreated. They are a total "extension" of the farmer himself.

When the farmer so much as heads for a field gate containing sheep, the Border Collies come alive at the kennel gate, knowing it is time to do what they love best, "work the sheep". That's what they live for. It is been hard for the veterinarians to ask these dogs to go bring in the sheep "one last time" - a task they willingly do, not knowing the fate that is about to befall their charges.

In many instances farmers whose flocks are being destroyed have come to us veterinarians at the end of the sad process and offered up their Border Collies for humane euthanasia knowing that they will not be able any longer to enjoy their life of work and reward. With a lot of tears in a lot of eyes, we have done that for them.

The alternative has been to leave the dogs on the farms and turn to the UK Border Collie Rescue Service for help. The UK agriculture department (DEFRA) devised a plan for disinfection and decontamination of the dogs themselves so that they can safely be taken off farms that are positive for FMD virus.

It is basically a close clip of the dog followed by a bath in a safe and approved disinfectant. This procedure requires that at least 2 BCR volunteers wearing the level 3 bio-protective gear required to enter an FMD farm, disinfect the dog, and exit the farm under DEFRA supervision. It is a long and costly process. A good $US50.00 is spent just on disposable supplies needed to enter a farm, clean the dog, and remove it safely to non-FMD

After that, the dogs are going through complete veterinary checks, receive vaccinations, and are being temporarily homed in a variety of kennels and personal homes so that they can be socialised and trained to be permanently placed as either pets, or, in some cases, returned to working sheep farms not affected by FMD so they can resume their previous way of life.

The UK BCR has estimated the financial need for the program will be on the order of 25,000 UK pounds... about $37,500 US, with less than 1/3 of that raised to date. 90-some dogs are currently in rescue with a lot more eligible and awaiting rescue.

The very complete story and contacts both in the UK and in the United States can be found under the FMD link at: -

If you can spread the word that help is urgently needed for the BCR operation in the UK - either through your customers or your contacts in the agility world, I am sure it will be most appreciated. Feel free to cross post this letter to any working, agility or breed lists you might feel appropriate.

We are grateful for the support this vet has given to the rescue program we are operating and for the information provided that gives a different perspective on the F&M situation. This message has reached us from 4 different sources. We have re-produced it as it came to us, with consent, and only omitted the name of the author and recipients.
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