The only UK Charity Supporting English Setters since 1986

Our Proud History


English Setter rescue


Introduction by Heather Lenzi

It was late 1960's that I was benched next to Gladys Jenkins that I broached the suggestion of a rescue society for English Setters. I had heard of one running wild over the rail tracks at Eastleigh in Hampshire. He came to me a thin and mixed up kid with little training. It took several months to get him back to shape and in that time he had worked his way into my heart. So he stayed and joined my other two English Setters. I showed him and he became Sh Ch  Adam Ahasuerus. In those early days English Setters were a popular breed with 300- 400 being shown at Championship shows and many litters available, several of the large, famous kennels are still in existence.

 Glad and I worked for many years together re homing several dogs a month. She was older than me and retired, so at the ESA's suggestion she headed the rescue when it officially became a charity.

Dogs were rehomed through us for several reasons, some from marriage breakdown, their owners demise, or just because a family had taken on more than they could cope with. An English Setter needs a  special kind of owner, and they, and the breeder had not done their homework. One setter bitch was handed over as she had been found on top of the gas stove !! 

When I moved to Devon in 1974 I became the West of England ESA contact and when Gladys became ill, took over her role until Jenny Penna took command.

 Over the years we have helped people keep their dogs when finances became so short that they considered re homing their elderly and beloved pet, paid for vet's bills for dogs which had been left with us who where in need of cures before they could be rehomed, visited and approved homes, collected and delivered dogs on a national scale and made the English Setter Rescue what it is today.

 Many a legacy from pet owners has helped us continue with the aim of protecting this wonderful breed.


2019 marks a new era for us. There are far fewer English Setters litters being bred and therefore fewer to be rescued. We are now a vulnerable breed yet their protection is still an issue. It is important to find the right home for a dog we rehome, one that understands and can put up with a Setter's foibles and can give love and security.


Heather Lenzi

  Pilsdon English Setters

To day we are a small team of dedicated Trustees and we are very proud to be able to say there is no other Charity devoted to English Setters with our history, knowledge, network or experience in the UK.  

The world has changed since those early days, thankfully not only has ESRA has proven itself capable of change, it continues to support the many Dogs dependent on it, and importantly the strong foundations created by Glady's, Heather and ESA have done their job. ESRA is stable enough to look to the future with confidence in maintaining its remit. 

To provide care and shelter to lost, abandoned or ill treated Dogs, with particular regard to Dogs of the English Setter breed and where possible to provide homes for such animals wherever possible.

ESRA evolved during those early years, the Trustees as Heather points out, recognised Dogs who's owners were no longer able to care for them for whatever reason, were not and are not rescue Dogs, they are much loved family pets who's owners care enough to re home them, as heartbreaking as that maybe. We have been there every step of the way, we make sure that all options are looked at, because we know how difficult this decision is. We are Tried, Tested and Trusted with the most precious part of someones life and we take that responsibility very seriously

Our work with Rescuing Dogs is known throughout Europe, our dedication and financial support has saved the lives of numerous dogs. Many times our network has moved quickly to help UK and European Dogs who have been neglected or badly treated, taking them to a place of safety, providing medical care and lots of love before they are adopted by caring families. We support them for the rest of their lives. The financial costs are enormous, the kindness of our supporters enable us to do this work in their name. Halting our work in Europe was not an easy decision.

The work ESRA has committed itself too, would we hope, exceed the expectations of those who created it, more than two thousand UK Dogs have safe secure homes thanks to ESRA's dedicated network of caring volunteers who give their time without hesitation because of their love of the breed.

Yes, we are very proud of our history!