A TRANENT pooch which suffered years of neglect will put its new-found health to the test in a sponsored walk on Sunday - to raise awareness of the barbaric treatment of animals in Asia.

Holly the labrador and her owner Lesley Winton, of West Windygoul Gardens, (pictured) will take part in a 2.5 mile sponsored walk, organised by charity Animals Asia Foundation, from Edinburgh"s Holyrood Park on Sunday.

The fundraiser represents a real challenge for Holly, who arrived at Lesley"s home last June weighing nearly 10 stone, with a thyroid problem and severe walking difficulties after being mistreated in this country.

The poor pooch had been used as a breeding machine, delivering five litters of puppies in as many years and had been kept in a cage too small for her before being passed from one owner to the next.

Her last owner unknowingly did further damage to Holly"s health by overfeeding her. 'It was just clear that there had been a real lack of any ongoing veterinary treatment or care for Holly,' said Lesley, 44, who now works as a driving instructor.

'She could barely walk when she arrived at my home and was in a sorry state.' Under Lesley"s care and through veterinary treatment - which she will require for the rest of her life - Holly is now on the road to recovery, having lost two stone, and has been given the go-ahead from her vet to take part in Sunday"s sponsored walk, beginning at 11am.

Another Tranent resident and student of Lesley"s, Laura Kemp, set up the Edinburgh and Lothians support group for Animals Asia and was responsible for organising the fundraiser - the first of what the charity hopes will be an annual event.

One of Animals Asia"s projects, that Holly and Lesley are fundraising for, aims to bring an end to the practice of bear farming in China, where thousands of bears - known as moon bears because of the golden crescents on their chests - are kept in cages so small that they cannot stand up or turn around.

The animals are milked for their bile, used for traditional Chinese medicine and products like shampoo, on a daily basis through a hole in their abdomen and it is an excruciatingly painful process. 'I used to work for the World Society of the Protection of Animals and I"ve maintained a keen interest in animal welfare since then, particularly protecting bears who are one of the most persecuted animals in the world,' said Lesley.

'This is an extremely important cause.' To sponsor Holly, visit www.justgiving.com/hollysjourney. To take part in Sunday"s walk phone 07729 824398.