Our priority is to save dogs

Who We Are

We are a group of people, just like you, who love animals. We have decided to do something about the disgraceful number of dogs and cats who are euthanased daily right here in our local pounds. We are based in Newcastle but we rescue dogs from all over eastern NSW including Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, the Hunter Valley, Central Coast, Taree and Mudgee.

We don’t have a kennel facility. All of our pets are in loving foster homes while they are waiting to be adopted. Once we accept a dog into foster care we keep the dog for as long as it takes to find him or her a home. This can take weeks or many, many months.

To keep informed about our activities, please like our Facebook page and go to our News page to sign up for our Newsletter and .

Our ABN is 92 544 122 852, our CFN (Charitable Fundraising Number) is 21652. We have Tax Deductible Gift Recipient Status, which means donations $2 or more are tax deductible.

Every year there are 250,000 companion animals killed in Australia, including 60,000 in New South Wales alone. These numbers are increasing. Visit Death Row Pets for details. Most of these are healthy, re-homeable animals, with their only crime being born into an uncaring society.


Since formation, Dog Rescue Newcastle has re-homed more than 6,000 dogs and over 600 cats who would otherwise now be dead. See photos of some of the pets which we have saved. This is a great achievement considering our size and funds. We always welcome more volunteers into our small, friendly group.

Dog Rescue Newcastle was officially established in May 2008 by Sue Barker and Anne Ward. Anne is now dedicated mainly to cat rescue while Sue is the President of Dog Rescue Newcastle and devotes all of her time trying to save the lives of abandoned dogs and managing a network of over 150 foster carers and hundreds of volunteers. Her phones never stop ringing! Sue has decades of experience in dog rescue and her dedication is an inspiration to all of us.

We are very pround that our president Sue Barker (below) has been nominated to be the “2013 Hunter Hero of the Year” by readers of the Newcastle Herald.

Sue’s story

Because of the limited number of foster carers, space and time, when the group first formed we concentrated our efforts on small dogs. As the number of carers increased and the demand for medium and bigger dogs became obvious, we now take almost any type of dog, as long as we have a carer available.

Early in 2010 we started trying to save some of the thousands of cats and kittens on death row and established Cat Rescue NewcastleCat Rescue Newcastle now operates as an indepent rescue group.


We are all volunteers. We don’t receive any government or big business funding. Our greatest expense is veterinary fees, which are thousands of dollars each month. We manage to pay our vet with money raised from BBQ’s, chocolate sales, donations and money received from the sale of the dogs and cats. After vet fees are paid, there is very little profit left from the sale of each pet, and many dogs which have had extraordinary needs are sold at a loss. We are a registered charity. Donations are tax deductible.

Please make a donation or learn more about the many ways you can help us.

Where Our Dogs and Cats Came From

Our priority is to save dogs, and cats when possible, from “Death Row” in local pounds. These are the ones with the most desperate need. They have only days, sometimes hours, to live.

We rescue dogs from Port Stephens Pound, Wyong Pound, Singleton Pound, and Musswellbrook Pounds, and beyond! Newcastle, Lake Macquarie City, Cessnock and Maitland do not have their own council pounds, they use the RSPCA at Rutherford instead.

Dogs and cats in pounds are perfectly healthy, normal family pets. They have become lost and remain unclaimed, or are surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them. Very occassionaly we find a pet who has suffered from neglect, such as Victor, below. Victor was close to death from starvation. His dedicated foster carer nursed him back to health and now he is very happy in his forever home.

Finding a New Home for Your Pet

We regret that our resources do not allow us to take dogs or cats from people who can longer keep them. Are you sure you really must give up your pet?

Please read these articles first: I Need to Return This Dog and Alternatives to Giving Up Your Pet.

If you must give up your pet, it is your responsibility to find a suitable new home for him or her. Do not be under the impression that the pound will rehome your pet. The majority of dogs and cats in pounds get put down (and that’s after spending a week or two terrified and in bad conditions)!

Do not advertise your pet ‘free to a good home’. Some people who respond to ads for free or cheap pets do not have the best of intentions. It’s been known for people to target ‘free to good home’ or cheap pets for the purposes of animal testing, puppy farming, to be used to train fighting dogs (ie: tied up and killed), and other general acts of cruelty. By employing a few simple screening techniques, you can ensure your pet goes to a genuine and loving home where they will not fall victim to cruelty. Please read this important guide to Finding a New Home for Your Pet.