A CAMPAIGN is underway to raise funds for specialist oxygen masks to save the lives of animals caught up in fires.

It’s hoped people across the county will get behind the initiative which aims to raise £4,500 - enough to supply all Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service appliances.

Carol Jeffreys, of Glassonby, near Kirkoswald, has set up the campaign and was amazed at the response so far.

In just over a week more than £640 has been raised.

“A huge thank you to everyone. I can’t believe the response. People have done us proud. The money has just rolled in and it’s amazing,” she said.

“I never thought we would have achieved what we have achieved in the week.

“It was a small project and now we are hoping we can help the whole county. It’s so important.

“Many people have pets, horses, livestock and whether they are your fur baby or part of your livelihood this equipment could save the lives of our beautiful animals.”

Carol previously owned Furry Tails Kennel and Cattery and has always been passionate about animals.

She started with a view of kitting out Eden area but would now like to supply the whole county - a total of about 50 kits.

She found out more about the oxygen masks after her friend’s puppy was suffering from seizures causing a lack of oxygen.

They made contact with the charity Smokey Paws and were inspired by their success stories.

Lynn Carberry, who runs the charity with her husband Brian Lockyer, said human masks which don’t fit animals can provide as little as 10 per cent of the oxygen needed, whereas the specialist, cone-shaped masks for animals could deliver up to 90 per cent.

“It makes a huge difference,” she said. “We have so many letter from fire fighters who say there is no way a dog or cat would have made it without the masks.”

A spokesman for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said: "This would be a welcome addition to CFRS’ appliances and we wish the fundraising campaign every success.”

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