AFTER devastating floods, helicopter rescues and a family split asunder, Big Red’s Animal Rescue Centre has now found it’s ‘forever home’.

The devastating gota fria of September 2019 resulted in many animal fatalities, as well as the tragic human loss.

Big Reds Animal Association, run by Suella Winston-Campbell, had a property in Dolores that was completely washed away by the floods, with her son Jon having to be rescued by helicopter!

The 16 dogs, three pigs and three surviving cats had to be immediately rehoused, meaning feeding and managing them has been a logistical nightmare ever since.

RESCUED: Jon wouldn’t leave the rescue centre until all animals had been saved

A perfectly suitable property was found in April just outside Catral, but the Covid-19 lockdown prevented any chance of seeing it, let alone moving all the animals back together.

However, the move is now complete and Suella, along with her family and volunteer Andrea Gee are looking to raise funds to renovate the ageing cortijo.

Animal Rescue 7
SECURE HOME NEEDED: Just a few of the kittens homed at Big Reds

She admits to being “forever grateful” to volunteers like Nicky Richardson, Sasha Ward and so many others that offered a temporary home for the dozens of cats and dogs over the period.

The Olive Press spoke exclusively with Suella, who admitted: “It’s been a nightmare, we thought the floods were the end of us but the rush of compassion was overwhelming at times.”

The new home also means that Suella’s son, Jon, can rejoin the family after he was forced to relocate to Los Montesinos in order to look after the dogs.

“He wouldn’t leave them to perish when we got flooded and had to be rescued by helicopter,” she revealed.

“Now we’ve been offered this beautiful old farmhouse, we can bring the family and the animals back together and focus on caring for them in our forever home.”

The property does need an awful lot of refurbishment work to bring it up to standard and provide homes for the animals in the care of Big Reds.

Suella continued, “Although our nine months dotted around the region is now at an end, the work has only really just begun.”

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PERFECT: The proposed site for a pig-shack adjacent to the cortijo

In order to build a roomy cattery, a safe dog run, a secure pig-shack and a visitor centre, Suella has received estimates suggesting close to €10,000 is needed.

Their ‘Buy-A-Brick’ campaign will involve contributors getting their own virtual brick and plaque built into one of the cortijo walls, similar to crowdfunding projects for many football stadia in the UK.

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SPACIOUS: Plenty of room for animals to exercise

If you’d like to donate anything, please go to https://donorbox.org/buy-a-brick-8

€5 gets a basic ‘virtual brick’ but larger amounts also mean the centre can be finished quicker.Or, if you’d like to foster or sponsor one of the many cats and dogs available, please contact Big Red via their Facebook site, https://www.facebook.com/bigredsanimals

READ MORE: Urgent plea for blankets from Costa Blanca pet charity suffering ‘perfect storm’ during lock-down

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