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Issue 271
March/April 2012
Animals: A New Ethics

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Bully Befrienders
Photo by Jan Jewell

Photo by Jan Jewell

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Bully Befrienders

Jan Jewell is devoting her life to rescuing the bull breed ‘pound’ dogs that will otherwise be put down.

Mahatma Gandhi once advised us to become the change we wish to see in the world. His remark was key to me when I began my rescue work. I was horrified to discover that councils in the UK are only mandated to retain a stray dog for seven days. Unclaimed, or failing to find a rescue space, dogs are euthanised – regardless of age, health or behaviour.

Conditions in which pound dogs are kept vary greatly. In many centres they have no bedding or lighting in their cells, and they do not get exercised. I decided to create a change for as many as I could by turning my home into a sanctuary, providing comfort and stimulation, and fostering peaceful co-existence.

I decided to specialise in bull breeds and named my rescue Bully Befrienders. My mascot, Bruno, was a Staffy. He had been used as ‘bait’ as a puppy, and could only ambulate like a seal. I sent Bruno to a pioneering veterinary practice for bionic implants. Sadly his worn body rejected the prosthesis and he had to be put to sleep. I vowed to personally save 100 pound dogs in his memory. I am currently welcoming my 90th.

My workload is 18 hours a day. Dog walks alone take up four hours, and there’s a lot of cleaning. It is gruelling and unglamorous, but good for the soul. I live frugally. No car or new clothes. My raison d’être is to become the change I would like to see.

Jan Jewell runs Bully Befrienders.