Staveley couple face kennel bill running into thousands for adopted Ukrainian greyhounds amid rabies fear

A young couple living in Staveley face a kennels bill running into thousands of pounds for two greyhounds that they have adopted from wartorn Ukraine.

Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 4:39 pm

Emily Pitchford, 24, and Liam Hudson, 23, have launched an appeal to raise at least £6,000 to cover the cost of quarantining the healthy dogs which have have to remain in kennels for at least three months because of bogus paperwork.

Their nightmare unfolded after they adopted the greyhounds through the rescue centre Paws Help UK, which is partnered with a similar organisation in Ukraine.

The centre in Ukraine was unable to use its standard veterinary lab for tests to check for rabies and another vet was recommended who could send the blood for testing in a Germany laboratory. The Ukrainian centre paid for the testing, blood samples were sent off and certificates were returned which confirmed that 24 dogs were rabies-free and could travel to England.

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Liam Hudson and Emily Pitchford are faced with having to raise at least £6,000 to cover kennel costs for the two greyhounds adopted from Ukraine.

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But just three days after arriving, all 24 dogs were seized by Trading Standards when a check by UK authorities found no record relating to their rabies testing from the lab that was listed.

The two greyhounds, adopted by Emily and Liam, were seized from a foster mum in Newcastle who was caring from them until the couple could make the journey up from Derbyshire to collect them.

Emily, who works as a manager in a nursery, said: “We were both completely gutted – we had been so excited about the dogs.

“The two we were adopting weren’t strays, they were from the same family, they were up to date with their vaccinations and have had a blood test for rabies since coming over and they’ve passed. I feel that we’re paying to keep them in kennels when they don’t need to be.

"I understand that the whole process is that they don’t want rabies coming into the UK. At the same time rules have been wavered for refugees bringing dogs with their families so the dogs only have to quarantine for three weeks and the government is providing funding.

"They are expecting us to come up with this ridiculous amount of money when it’s a rescue that doesn’t have that kind of money.”

The two greyhounds, Patch and Chester, are currently in Berkshire but Emily is hoping that they can be moved to a kennel in Derbyshire after a month so they can get to know their new owners.

Elina Oliferuk, founder of Paw Help UK, said: “Putting those dogs on 3-4 months isolation is inhumane for the animals and, at best, cruel and calculating with regard to their heartbroken owners.

"Had we known there was an issue with the paperwork, we would have never put these poor dogs and their new owners in this awful position of being separated after only three days. Paw Help UK is committed to covering the quarantine costs for all these animals and we have started actively fundraising so that we may continue to rescue animals from Ukraine both during and after this awful war.”

Christine Middlemiss, UK chief veterinary officer, said: “Checks have confirmed that these animals did not receive the required blood tests to ensure they were healthy to enter the UK. We are taking quick action to limit the risk of disease spreading by quarantining all animals involved in this case until further notice. We are really grateful for the cooperation of the households involved, this helps protect all our own UK pets. I encourage the public to contact us with any information they may have.

“Animals without the correct vaccinations and confirmatory tests pose a real disease threat to both our own beloved animals and to people whilst also impacting the rabies-free status we have held for many years.”

To help Emily and Liam with the kennel costs for their two greyhounds, go to

To support Paws Help UK in its mission to help owners of all 24 dogs with kennel costs, visit