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‘We are going to struggle’ - snow will have lasting impact on animal sanctuaries and charities

PUBLISHED: 13:30 03 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:17 03 March 2018

Deer keeping warm in the cold weather at Hillside Animal Sanctuary. Picture: Hillside Animal Sanctuary

Deer keeping warm in the cold weather at Hillside Animal Sanctuary. Picture: Hillside Animal Sanctuary

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Animal sanctuaries and charities across the region will struggle with the impact of the snow for a long time after it has thawed.

Welsh ponies from PACT Animal Sanctuary. The charity has said the winter weather has had a big impact on them. Picture: PACT Animal SanctuaryWelsh ponies from PACT Animal Sanctuary. The charity has said the winter weather has had a big impact on them. Picture: PACT Animal Sanctuary

Chris Rockingham, co-founder and trustee of PACT Animal Sanctuary, has said the weather has had a big impact on their budget and rehoming service.

The centre, at Woodrising near Watton, has around 1,600 residents including rodents, birds, farm animals and cats and dogs.

“It is having a big impact,” said Mrs Rockingham. “Most of our charity shops have had to close and they supply half our income which means our income is going to be badly hit.

PACT has 11 shops and Mrs Rockingham said she estimates the charity is losing £11,000 for every snow day.

Peacocks at PACT Animal Sanctuary in the snow. Picture: PACT Animal SanctuaryPeacocks at PACT Animal Sanctuary in the snow. Picture: PACT Animal Sanctuary

“We have had the heating on extra and that is costing money. Every animal is having extra bedding and extra food. Again it is costly.

“It will have an affect for the rest of the year. We work on a low budget anyway. But this is going to hit us and we are going to struggle.”

She added: “The impact will stay for a long time after the snow has thawed.”

Horses in the snow at Hillside Animal Sanctuary. Picture: Hillside Animal SanctuaryHorses in the snow at Hillside Animal Sanctuary. Picture: Hillside Animal Sanctuary

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The centre runs a 24 call-out service but this and the rehoming have also been impacted by the weather.

“The difficulty has been getting out to calls. We usually run a 24 hour service and that has been difficult.

“We have called out other organisations in when we can and have been giving people advice.”

She added: “It also means animals are not getting homes and therefore we are not able to take any more in.”

A rabbit from PACT Animal Sanctuary enjoying the snow. The charity has said the weather will have a big impact. Picture: PACT Animal SanctuaryA rabbit from PACT Animal Sanctuary enjoying the snow. The charity has said the weather will have a big impact. Picture: PACT Animal Sanctuary

People for Animal Care Trust (PACT) was established by a group of people dedicated to animal welfare, and registered as a charity in March 1995.

There are 16 employed animal care assistants and a number of volunteers.

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Mrs Rockingham has praised the efforts of the staff and volunteers for their dedication to get to the centre - which is currently closed to the public - during the winter storm.

Muffin the mule in the deep snow. PACT Animal Sanctuary has said the weather will have a huge impact. Picture: PACT Animal SanctuaryMuffin the mule in the deep snow. PACT Animal Sanctuary has said the weather will have a huge impact. Picture: PACT Animal Sanctuary

She said: “We are on skeleton staff who are working on shorter days because it is taking them longer to get in and they are leaving early to get home.

“We are very grateful to those who have come in and some have had to abandon their cars and walk in. Where we can, we have used a 4x4 to ferry them in.”

She added: “We are fortunate that we have a decent supply of hay and straw for the larger animals. We have not run out of any food at the moment. We are hoping it starts to thaw so we can get out to get supplies.”

Wendy Valentine, who founded Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Frettenham, has also said the snow will have an effect.

The charity has more than 3,000 rescued animals, including sheep, goats and horses, in its care.

Mrs Valentine said they go through 250 tonnes of straw a week, and since the start of the year this has doubled in price.

With the cold snap hitting hard, the sanctuary has used even more straw.

For more information about the centre, rehoming or making donations visit the PACT and Hillside websites.

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