Debbie

Debbie is our site manager and has visited Sri Lanka in the past as a volunteer at a children's orphanage and also an elephant orphanage. During that time, Debbie witnessed firsthand the heartbreaking suffering of the animals, particularly the strays who are everywhere to be seen.

On a subsequent trip to Sri Lanka in December 2009, Debbie visited our sanctuary and after witnessing the work we are doing, decided that she wanted to join us and make a difference. 
Debbie is a hard working and dedicated member of our local team.

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Kim Cooling

Founder/President Animal SOS Sri Lanka 

Kim- is a Social Worker in London and ardent animal lover since childhood.  In her adult years, she has become pro-active having travelled extensively around the world and witnessed first hand the scale of animal suffering, cruelty and the pitiful plight of stray animals.

Kim first visited Sri Lanka as a tourist in 1992 and was horrified by the sheer scale of animal suffering and cruelty there. In the following years, she has strived to help the desperate street animals, using her own funds for the trips, veterinary bills and rescue work.

Prior to the formation of the charity, and due to the lack of animal welfare facilities in Sri Lanka, many of these doomed dogs are now living pampered lives in the UK, much loved pets in loving homes all funded through Kim's wages.  Kim campaigns relentlessly to increase awareness of animal cruelty and suffering around the world. 

In 2000, Kim personally took petitions to the King of Thailand in protest against the trade in dog fur and the mass poisoning of the strays in Bangkok. This initiated government backed sterilisation programmes to replace the mass killings, saving thousands of street dogs. 

Kim’s beautiful rescued Thai street dog –Rama, was featured in the Daily Mail in 1998, and Kim’s tribute to her beloved pet, which inspired Kim’s work with street animals, was published more recently in June 2009, after Rama’s death from Lymphoma. Read Rama's Story

In 2006 Kim visited China and filmed dogs being hung, bled and boiled alive for their meat in market in Yangshou, Guangxi Province, to expose the treatment of animals in China particularly the plight of domestic animals killed for meat and fur.

Anoma Akmeemana

Associate Member-Sri Lanka

Anoma is a passionate animal lover who is an expatriate of Sri Lanka having left in 1983 for the USA.

She has been politically active in the US and has forged greater interaction between the USA and Sri Lanka particularly after the Tsunami in 2004, when she played a significant role in aid relief.

She recently returned to her homeland, but will still be visiting the US to visit her family there.

In 2005 whilst visiting Sri Lanka she locked horns with the Sabaragamuwa University when hundreds of strays dogs were to be slaughtered due to an alleged ‘health risk’ of rabies.

With the help of Iranganie de Silva, wife of the Minister of Health, Mr Nimal de Silva, Anoma took up their cause and successfully staved off the killings through sterilising some of the animals and providing vials of anti-rabies vaccine.

Sadly these vials remained in the fridge and a year later these reprieved animals were poisoned despite a Presidential order to refrain from killing dogs.

Witnessing the heartbreaking plight of strays in her homeland on a daily basis, Anoma shares the vision of Animal SOS Sri Lanka and is a major player and supporter in Sri Lanka.

 

Cyril

Cyril is a member of our staff in Sri Lanka - he is also our neighbour. From the start of the project Cyril has been assisting us with security during the initial building works and helping to care for our first canine arrivals on the site.

Cyril was relocated to the area after losing members of his close family during the tsunami and his employment on our site enables him to support his surviving family.

His duties include: feeding the site animals, cleaning kennels, works on the land, and security duties. Cyril loves his work and is extremely fond of our site animals- an affection reciprocated by the dogs.

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Iranganie de Silva

Iranganie de Silva is one of the most influential and outspoken animal rights activists in Sri Lanka.  She is the wife of the Sri Lankan Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition.  
In 2004 Iranganie who had just returned from the UK with her daughter was caught in a traffic jam en route to her home in Colombo. To her horror she witnessed a bullock cart race. The riders were brutally beating the bulls with a vengeance and the backs of the animals were bleeding. When she asked the men to stop, they beat the animals harder. In frustration, Iranganie reported them to the police but without effective animal welfare legislation, such acts of animal cruelty go unpunished in Sri Lanka.  

Around the same time Iranganie heard about dogs collected by the Colombo Municipal Council for gassing. She describes the Council as  the worst in the world and devoid of compassion’ due to their relentless and merciless killing of thousands of innocent dogs and their puppies over the years in the name of rabies.  When she entered the infamous dog pounds she witnessed the dogs yelping for their lives. On this occasion she managed to secure their release which is uncommon, as dogs entering the pounds are usually gassed without reprieve.

Iranganie recently helped save a dog on the premises of the Health Ministry who was seen vomiting and frothing at the mouth. The Municipal Council were eager to collect and kill the dog as they assumed it was rabid. However, with Iranganie’s intervention the dog was vaccinated and taken to a vet and examined. The female dog was a mother and she had 6 puppies. Of these, 5 had been eaten by predators and to protect her surviving pup, the mother had refused to leave its side even to search for food and water.  As a result the mother dog became ill due to malnutrition and dehydration. She was not rabid, just a loving mother who was almost condemned to death. Iranganie has taken responsibility for many of the dogs in the Ministry which would have been killed.
Iranganie continues to champion the cause of the voiceless animals in Sri Lanka who endure unimaginable cruelty and suffering at the hands of humans.

 

Julie Withey

Associate Member

Julie, a vegetarian, has always been a passionate animal lover especially of the most vulnerable; she is an experienced dog groomer and a qualified animal carer holding a BTEC National diploma in animal care triple distinction.  Julie’s interests are dog training, canine psychology and looking after her own 6 rescued dogs. She became involved with Animal SOS Sri Lanka after meeting one of the members Liz Stewart, whilst helping Liz with her own animal rescue in Somerset.

Julie helps with fundraising and collects much needed veterinary and food supplies for these beautiful Sri Lankan animals.  After visiting Sri Lanka as a volunteer for the charity in August 2009 and witnessing the suffering first hand, Julie is even more determined and passionate to help these animals in conjunction with all the other wonderful people involved (including all the friends and family who hold the fort at home while we are away).

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Kanthie Perera

Associate Member Sri Lanka

Born in Belliaththa, south Sri Lanka - Kanthie is a dedicated animal lover and a devout Buddhist and vegetarian.  Heartbroken by the dire and depressing animal welfare situation in Sri Lanka, Kanthie requested to join us.  She is a friend of Kim Cooling after meeting her in London, and is one of our Sri Lankan based Associates, although Kanthie travels extensively to fulfil her various  roles and commitments which include:-

  • President: World Buddhist Peace Foundation.
  • Treasurer: Nensiri Muthukumara Int Buddhist Research Centre.
  • Advisor: World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth Sri Lanka.
  • Advisor:  Unesco National Federation - Sri Lanka.
  • Managing Editor: 'New World Buddhism'.

Kanthie shares our vision for the animals of Sri Lanka and her area of interest within the group is to promote awareness of animal welfare issues and education.

Elizabeth Stewart

Associate Member

Liz is an ardent and passionate animal lover who founded Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue. Prior to having her own rescue, Liz helped Freshfields Animal Rescue in Liverpool and helped to home many dogs from there. 

Liz has saved hundreds of dogs from the death rows at various dog pounds in Ireland, Wales, and inner city kennels, and has used her own funds to board them whilst homes are sought.   
Liz, a vegetarian, campaigned to save Harry a suspected Pit Ball Terrier who faced being destroyed. Because of her efforts, Harry is still alive today and in a loving home.

Other successes include rescuing 160 horses from the meat trade, a campaign to stop the breeding of ponies on Dartmoor and the New Forest, the rescue of over 12,000 ex battery hens and saving the lives of 176 beagles from being sold to a Spanish laboratory for vivisection.

Liz has re-homed over 17,000 unwanted dogs, hundreds of horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, hens and cats, many feral.
Having visited Sri Lanka, Liz was horrified by the scale of animal suffering there and despite having her own rescue to run in Somerset, has been an active and dedicated member of Animal SOS Sri Lanka since it’s formation in 2007.

Liz provides essential supplies for the trips, and works tirelessly to help the animals whilst she is in Sri Lanka. Prior to having the sanctuary base, she has saved several dogs and a cat by bringing them back to the UK-all personally funded.

In 2006 Liz won the IFAW award for her contribution to animal welfare. This was presented to her at the House of Lords.
Liz campaigns against all animal cruelty and shares the vision of Animal SOS Sri Lanka.

Morag Longmuir

Trustee

Morag works for the Metropolitan Police and has been a close personal friend of Kim Cooling for over 20 years.

Morag has been assisting Kim with her animal rescue work for many years (long before the formation of the charity) visiting Sri Lanka during her annual leave and self funding her trips and rescue work.   

In harsh and often a difficult circumstances, Morag’s dedication to help the strays entails long days and working in blistering heat. She also accompanies Kim when feeding and treating the strays at night.

With the formation of the charity in July 2007, Morag, a founder member, holds the position of Trustee.

 

 

Trang Nguyen

Associate Member

Originally from Vietnam, Trang but has spent much of her life in Perth, Australia. By day she works as a Geophysicist and in her personal time she enjoys reading novels and gardening. Growing up with dogs and birds she has always had great passion for animals and discovered the work of Animal SOS by reading an article about Kim Cooling featured in a local animal welfare magazine.

After discovering the horrors behind the fur industry in China, in which domestic cats and dog are skinned alive, she has become actively involved in various campaigns to raise public awareness of the scale of animal cruelty that continues to takes place throughout many parts of the world. Connecting with Animal SOS was a natural affiliation for her and one in which mutual goals of animal welfare are achieved.  One of the reasons behind her involvement was seeing at first hand the genuine commitment behind the charity and the passion and unrelenting dedication for the animals as demonstrated by its founder, Kim.

Trang is currently living in London.

Nilantha Wellappili

Resident Vet

Nilantha is our resident vet in Sri Lanka and a great asset to the team. He is an experienced practitioner who is dedicated to improving the lives of stray animals in Sri Lanka
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Nandini

Nandini lives in the village where we are based, and cooks for our site animals as well as keeping our clinic clean and tidy.
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Most Venerable Athureliye Rathana Himi

Patron -Sri Lanka

Honourable Member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, Parliamentary Group Leader for the Jathika Hela Urumaya (The Nationalist Party) Chairman of the National Drug Prevention Bureau, Chairman of the Unity for Animal Protection.

We are honoured to have the Venerable Athureliye Rathana Himi as our Sri Lankan Patron and staunch supporter of work and vision in Sri Lanka. Venerable Athureliye Rathana was a guest speaker at the launch of our organisation at the Mount Lavinia hotel, Colombo, in April 2009 and is an avid campaigner for the rights and welfare of animals in Sri Lanka.

In February 2009, Venerable Rathana tabled in Parliament the Animal Welfare Bill which also seeks to establish a National Animal Welfare Authority, as a Private Member’s Bill. The Bill provides for the protection of animals from cruelty; to foster kindness, compassion and responsible behaviour towards animals in the community. 

June Brook

Trustee

June first heard about the work of Kim Cooling from the local newspaper and after contacting Kim decided to join Animal SOS Sri Lanka as a fundraiser.

June, a passionate animal lover, has been fundraising for animals most of her adult life. With her children now married, and after retiring, June is dedicated to devoting her time to raise much needed funds to save the lives of animals in Sri Lanka and alleviating their suffering.

June uses her artistic skills to make wonderful cards for the charity. Her quiz nights are also very popular.

June visited Sri Lanka with the team in July 2009- her first trip to the country.  

The background

Animal SOS Sri Lanka was formed on the vision of Kim Cooling, a London based social worker and long-term animal welfare worker in the UK and overseas.

After witnessing the depressing situation for animals in Sri Lanka, particularly the plight of the strays who are everywhere to be seen, Kim decided to try to help them.

After many years of self-funded rescue work which seemed like a drop in the ocean given the scale of animal suffering in Sri Lanka, and compounded by the frustration of a lack of suitable facilities, appropriate care, and safe havens for suffering and injured stray animals, a decision was made to form an organisation. Animal SOS Sri Lanka became a UK registered charity in July 2007.

With a determined and dedicated group of friends and other animal lovers- many being seasoned animal welfare/rights campaigners both in the UK and Sri Lanka, and all sharing the vision and aims of the charity, our vital mission continues.

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Helen De Silva

Heli is a dear friend and supporter in Sri Lanka. Despite failing health and terminal illness, Heli continues to help animals on a daily basis. She feeds the strays in her area and opens her home and heart to many desperate souls including three rescued stray dogs and dozens of ex street cats-all are cared for impeccably by Heli and her devoted housemaid.

As an animal lover and witnessing the heartbreaking suffering of animals on a daily basis, Heli shares our vision and has supported us through all the challenges we have faced to become operational. During our trip in August 2009, and despite being unwell and undergoing chemotherapy, Heli made the long journey from Colombo to Ahangama to see our land and newly opened clinic. For Heli, her dream for the strays has now materialised. Heli is such a kind and selfless person and always so welcoming. There are few in this world with such a pure and beautiful heart. We love you Heli!

 

Georgina Mason

Associate Member

Georgina is a vegetarian and has supported and campaigned for animal causes since she was a child. She has given a loving home to many rescued dogs over the years and has also found homes for those animals she has been unable to keep.  

More recently Georgina has visited Sri Lanka and seen first hand the hardship that exists there-particularly the sad plight of street animals who struggle to survive on a daily basis. The dire situation prompted her to become involved with Kim's vision and the charity.

Georgina is a new and enthusiastic member of the charity and will be helping with a variety of roles within the organisation such as fund-raising, campaigning, administration, and the development of the charity. 

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Maria Daines

Patron, Animal SOS Sri Lanka

Maria Daines is a multi-award winning International vocalist and songwriter whose band supported US artist Pink at Cardiff International Arena for the Party for Animals World Wide in August 2007. The concert rose over £90,000 for six animal welfare charities. Based in the UK, Maria is an advocate for animal rights and welfare campaigning against breed specific legislation and many other issues of animal cruelty.

Maria is Patron of Dog Watch UK - The Staffy Campaign, Patron of Cornwall's Voice for Animals, Animal SOS Sri Lanka, Doris Banham Sanctuary, The Racing Dog Protection Act, Honorary Member of Skiathos Cat Society and co-founder of One Life Rescue, helping unwanted dogs in crisis and emergency situations. Maria is also a member of Animals Count, a political party which aims to take animal issues to the top of the political agenda through setting the best policies for animals and encouraging existing political parties to become more animal friendly.

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Sisira

Our Driver

Sisira is our driver and security guard during the day. He is a very experienced and considerate driver and tackles the crazy roads in Sri Lanka with calm and patience. Any mechanical problems, and Sisira is there and eager to help out. When not driving or maintaining our vehicle, Sisira can be found in the security hut where he diligently checks all the vehicles that arrive at the gates.

Sisira recently adopted one of our site pups. The pup is being cared for really well and is adored by his family.

Like all of our other local staff, Sisira lives in the village. 

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Upul

Upul is our night watchman/security guard. He lives in the village and enjoys working at the site. Upul, an animal lover, is extremely fond of the site dogs and is always eager to help out when needed. If there are any noises during the night that he does not recognise, he is out with his torch investigating the 4 acre compound. Upul is a very helpful and popular member of our local team. 
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Mary Corin

Mary is our Charity Development Manager. Mary has worked in the commercial business world, principally environmental protection through recycling and resource management.

Mary has loved all animals since she was a young child and joined animal protection charities from the age of 10- starting with campaigns to protect seal pups from brutal killing and spending time rescuing birds, hedgehogs and dogs.

With an unerring sense of justice, Mary has continued to support animal charities to help those that cannot help or defend themselves, have no voice and have the misfortune to share the planet with mankind. She has supported charities ranging from animal specific charities through to farm animal welfare- principally financially and with other practical support such as campaign letters and fundraising but this was limited due to long working long hours.

Following a career change to consultant and now working from home, Mary has decided to donate her spare time supporting smaller charities where donations go directly to help animals. Mary admits that she cannot work at the ‘frontline’ but is keen to offer her business skills to help the passionate, dedicated and   caring people that give up their time to prevent animals living lives of total misery and suffering. Mary’s business skills will help the charity to develop and achieve the aims and ultimate vision of the organisation.

As a passionate dog lover, Mary has always had rescue dogs and currently has three. Now that she is home she intends to offer a loving home to more neglected animals needing the loving care they deserve.

Kristina Lemon

Associate Member

Kristina is a life long animal lover since early childhood and fully supports and promotes animal welfare and protection.  Since meeting her partner who is from Sri Lanka, she visits the country often. On her first visit to the island, Kristina was shocked to see the sheer volume of displaced and suffering animals roaming the streets. She endeavors to help as many of these needy animals as she can during the trips.

Kristina heard about Animal SOS Sri Lanka and the lifesaving work carried out by Kim Cooling and her dedicated team. She has now joined the charity to work towards fulfilling Kim’s vision and the principles of the charity-to fight against animal cruelty, rabies and improve the welfare of animals in Sri Lanka.

With Kristina’s useful contacts in Sri Lanka she has managed to promote the work and aims of the charity in the local newspapers.
Kristina is now dedicating her time as a volunteer to raise much needed funds and assist with the administrative work.

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Kelly

Kelly is a veterinary nurse and grew up with many family pets. It was because of her love for animals that she decided to spend her life working with them and studying to become a veterinary nurse. Kelly also has an interest in laboratory work and works in a small animal hospital in Bristol.

Kelly was introduced to the charity by Julie Withey whilst assisting to obtain veterinary supplies for the clinic in Sri Lanka. Since then she has dedicated much of her time helping to raise funds for the charity via various fundraising events, mostly with Julie, as well as helping with veterinary supplies through her many contacts. Kelly is an enthusiastic and active member of our team. 

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Back in the UK, Kim has rescued and found homes for many unwanted dogs and cats in the death row pounds.  Kim resides in London with 9 rescue dogs including four abused ex Sri Lankan strays she saved from the streets. 

Animal SOS Sri Lanka is a charity founded on Kim’s vision to offer hope to the animals in Sri Lanka and to create a kinder and more compassionate society for them through the work of the charity- a legacy to be enjoyed by both humans and animals.  

Kim has an interest in tropical diseases which kill many strays and pets in Sri Lanka and around the globe.  An article she wrote to increase awareness about these killer diseases was published in the UK Veterinary Times in 2006.

Kim's respected self funded work with stray animals has been featured in publications around the world.

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She has written a book entitled’ Right to Live’ to promote awareness and compassion to animals as well as arranging leaflets for school children.

Iranganie has been particularly outspoken against the barbaric cattle slaughter methods which the bulls and pregnant cows endure in the slaughterhouses throughout Sri Lanka. She recently visited a temple where a pregnant cow that had been rescued from slaughter, gave birth due to the trauma of being pulled, pushed and dumped into trucks. The calf was also traumatised and could not suckle- it suffered for days. 

Iranganie is also critical of the treatment of the Sri Lankan elephants that are being killed at alarming rates due their conflict with man and loss of habitat.

Iranganie, a strong ally and friend has joined forces with Animal SOS Sri Lanka to seek justice for the animals of Sri Lanka.

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'All of my life I have been in awe of rescuer's. People who save animals are my heroes and my best friends. I am proud and honoured to be Patron of Animal SOS Sri Lanka and I can think of no better way to say thank you to this wonderful and dedicated organisation that save so many helpless animals from the horror of their painful lives on the streets, than by supporting them one hundred and fifty per cent. Animal SOS Sri Lanka is making a vital difference every day. Their tireless work proves compassion truly matters, their vision shows a better way of life is possible for animals that have nowhere to call home and nobody to look out for them.

I hope you will join me in supporting this important cause because I believe in Animal SOS Sri Lanka and I believe in the power of good people when they are united to end suffering'

Maria Daines
Patron, Animal SOS Sri Lanka
2009

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