Creator of ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’, Clarissa Baldwin, honoured for lifetime commitment to animal welfare

Dogs Trust is delighted to announce that the charity’s Council Member and recently retired Chief Executive, Clarissa Baldwin, has been presented with a CBE by HRH the Princess Royal at an Investiture at Buckingham Palace, which she attended with her family.

The honour has been awarded in recognition of Clarissa’s outstanding contribution to animal welfare for the past 40 years. Clarissa’s passion, dedication and determination to improve dog welfare has never dwindled. As well as being the Chief Executive of Dogs Trust until October 2014, Clarissa has been an unrivalled, tireless champion for all dogs, famously creating the slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ in 1978.

A respected opinion former within the animal welfare sector, Clarissa has been heavily involved in all major animal welfare legislation over the last 40 years. Most notably she was involved in legislation on the Animal Welfare Act, The Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act, The Dangerous Dogs Act, and she founded and chaired the Microchip Alliance which led to the successful introduction of Compulsory Microchipping that comes into effect in April 2016. Even in retirement, her life-long passion for Racing Greyhounds continues in her role as Chair of the Greyhound Forum and as a Council Member of Dogs Trust.

The Resident: Clarissa Baldwin with ArialClarissa Baldwin with Arial

‘I am hugely honoured to receive a CBE and believe this is recognition for so many people who have worked alongside me over the years,’ Clarissa Baldwin CBE comments. ‘Whilst retired I am continuing to tackle the Greyhound issue that has been a huge part of my working life and I hope, following the EFRA Select Committee Inquiry and the DEFRA review, our efforts to improve their welfare will come to fruition by the end of the year. I will also continue to support Mission Rabies with their efforts across the world.’

Clarissa was one of the first female Chief Executives in the charity sector, becoming CEO of Dogs Trust (then known as the National Canine Defence League) in 1986. Under Clarissa’s guidance, the annual income of the charity rose from £1.3 million to over £80 million today. During this time the charity has also grown from having nine Rehoming Centres, which cared for around 6,000 rescue dogs a year, to now 20 state-of-the-art Rehoming Centres in the UK and one in Dublin, which care for nearly 17,000 rescue dogs.

Through Clarissa’s direction, the charity is now active in ten countries around the world and has moved from being just a rehoming charity, to one that also works within the community and alongside the Government to deal with a range of issues in society from dangerous dogs, so called ‘status dogs’, puppy farming and the online sale of puppies. Over £6 million a year is invested in important preventative work.


Dogs Trust Chief Executive, Adrian Burder, comments: ‘Everyone at Dogs Trust is incredibly proud of Clarissa, whose leadership transformed the charity as well as the animal welfare sector itself. Having worked with Clarissa for over 20 years, I know that we have so much to be thankful to her for and this latest Honour of a CBE is so well deserved. Clarissa’s hands-on approach has brought her great respect in the halls of Westminster, throughout the industry as well as amongst the staff who are at the forefront of rehoming. The animal welfare sector owes Clarissa Baldwin CBE so much.’

Throughout her career, Clarissa has been the chair of both the UK & International Greyhound Forums, Joint founder of The International Companion Animal Welfare Conference, Chair of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes, Chair of the Welfare Committee of the Pet Plan Charitable Trust, Founder of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group and Chair of the Microchipping Alliance since 2009.

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