Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Animal lover leaves charities 7m

Stray dog in kennels
The gift to the Dogs Trust will be used to help care for 16,000 rescue dogs

A dog lover from a village in Moray has left millions of pounds to animal charities in her will.

Grace Smith, from Alves, left a 7m fortune when she died in January at the age of 85.

Nearly all of that is going to animal charities, including the Dogs Trust, the PDSA, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the Scottish SPCA.

The retired pathologist is reported to have left 3.5m to the Dogs Trust alone. The charity cares for strays.

It is also thought thousands of pounds have been left to care for Mrs Smith's own dogs.

All her life she loved dogs and I would not have expected anything else from her than what she chose to do
John Hogg
Local councillor

Mrs Smith died almost three years after her husband John, a retired surgeon and fellow dog-lover.

The chief executive officer of the Dogs Trust, Clarissa Baldwin, said they had been overwhelmed by the "wonderfully kind gift."

She added: "Mrs Smith's legacy will be permanently recorded in our Book of Remembrance at our head office in London, and her donation will be used in a number of areas within the charity to help care for the 16,000 rescue dogs which pass through our centres each year."

John Hogg, an independent councillor who knew Mrs Smith for a number of years, said he had "no idea whatsoever" about the size of her fortune, but was not surprised by what she decided to do with it.

Mr Hogg, councillor for Heldon and Laich, said: "She had a comfortable life with a nice house, but nothing extensive.

"All her life she loved dogs and I would not have expected anything else from her than what she chose to do. She was astute, cultured, very well-informed and also very private."

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