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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 June 2005, 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK
Sanctuary saves its 1,000th dog
Stray dog
Over the past 18 months it has transferred dogs fortnightly
A Northern Ireland animal sanctuary has saved its 1,000th dog from being destroyed.

It is estimated 6,500 dogs are put down in Northern Ireland every year - but the County Down sanctuary rescues some of them by shipping them to England.

The Assisi Sanctuary in Conlig have now sent their 1,000th dog across the Irish Sea.

It will be rehomed there because there is a shortage of pounds to look after the animals in Northern Ireland.

The number of healthy dogs destroyed in Northern Ireland represents about 40% of the UK total.

Assisi Animal Sanctuary said its Chance of a Lifetime campaign alleviated the plight of the animals.

Over the past 18 months it has transferred dogs fortnightly to Blue Cross and Dogs Trust rehoming centres in the UK where they are speedily rehomed.

"These dogs have been rescued from council pounds across the province and without this campaign would be destroyed," said a spokesman.

"The dogs travel at midnight from Larne to Cairnryan in a specially fitted van accompanied by two responsible Assisi committee or volunteer drivers."

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