Animal sanctuary takes in more pets than ever in its 40th year

Animal sanctuary takes in more pets than ever in its 40th year

An animal sanctuary in Somerset celebrating its 40th year says it is facing its toughest time yet.

More than 10,000 abandoned or rescued animals have been helped by Happy Landings since it began in 1984.

But more pets than ever have been brought in by desperate owners struggling to make ends meet.

To support its work the sanctuary has begun a 40th anniversary fundraising drive as it relies entirely on donations from the public.

Happy Landings’ founder Annabelle Walter took in an injured goose called Pimple as her first rescue in 1984.

She said she was proud of all the people who had given their time and money over the past four decades.

“If it weren’t for people who feel like I do, we’d never have lasted 40 years,” she said.

“The hugest obstacle has always been not having the financial security a small charity needs to feel safe. Happy Landings struggles so much.

“I am forever grateful to everyone who has ever donated, volunteered and worked here – because it’s them that kept our work going.”

The sanctuary in Pylle, Shepton Mallet has annual running costs of £253,000 and said it was urgently looking for volunteer fundraisers and more pet foster homes.

Nina Harris, the sanctuary’s animal welfare trustee, said a “ripple effect” from the cost of living crisis was having a big impact on the numbers of dogs, cats and rabbits coming its way.

“Many families are having to take the heartbreaking decision to rehome their pets.

“From rising food and vets’ fees, to housing and job instability, more owners are asking for their pets to be rehomed because they simply can’t afford to keep them anymore,” she said.

“We recently took in a dog that was suffering from a severe skin condition and cherry eye (a prolapsed third eyelid gland) in both eyes.

“Treatment costs were spiralling, and with three young children and barely able to pay their utilities, the owners had had to make the difficult decision to part with him.

“It’s often a last resort, but the consequences are particularly dire for older pets and those with extra needs, because the challenge of finding a new home becomes even tougher.”

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Animal sanctuary takes in more pets than ever in its 40th year

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